What you should know about mumps.
1. Mumps is a highly contagious disease
Mumps is very infectious disease caused by the mumps virus. It affects those things in our body which produce saliva called salivary glands—parotid, sub-maxillary and sublingual salivary glands; the parotid is the one affected in most cases. The disease occurs all over the world, both developed and developing countries and can be in form of outbreaks as it is highly infectious.
However the incidence is higher in crowded homes with poor ventilation and schools
Children under five years are mostly affected but teenagers and young youths can also be affected. It is worse in adults.
2. Mumps spreads from person to person by contact/droplets
Mumps spreads by droplet, that is saliva/nasal discharge that comes out of your mouth when you talk or when coughing or sneezing to someone close to you at the time. It can also spread by direct and indirect contact with an infected person; direct contact is by handshake, kissing while indirect is by touching objects touched or used by the affected person.
The virus enters the body through the respiratory tract
Incubation period (time from exposure to the virus to coming down with the disease) is about 14-28 days with an average of 18 days.
The affected person can spread the disease days before the symptoms appear and for a few days during the illness. A few persons may have the disease but show no signs of the disease but are able to spread it, they are called healthy carriers
3. It is more severe in adults than in children
As said earlier, mumps is a disease of children but occasionally affects adults; it is more severe in adults. Symptoms include fever, soft swelling of the sides of the face and the lower jaw, headache, muscle pain, occasionally there could be abdominal pain and vomiting.
Contact your doctor if any member of your family has any of the above.
4. A single attack confess life – long immunity
In most cases, full recovery from an attack confers life-long immunity against the disease. Even those who had the disease but did not fall ill also have life-long immunity.
5. Possible complications of mumps include meningitis, etc—
Possible complications of mumps include spread to the brain, the testes, pancreas and ovaries. It can cause infertility in men.
6. Prevention is by isolation of the patient/vaccination/care of the contacts.
a. There are vaccines for mumps containing either dead or live virus.
b. Well ventilated homes will reduce the risk of infection.
c. In today’s world, affected persons should use disposable plates and cutlery which are hygienically disposed off.
d. Personal hygiene is also key, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water followed application of sanitizer.