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Mumps

Definition

Mumps is an acute viral illness characterized by swelling of the parotid glands, just below and in front of the ear, and at times, the salivary glands under the jaw.

Cause of Mumps

Mumps is a contagious disease that is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory secretions such as saliva from an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets aerosolize and can enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person. Mumps can also be spread by sharing food and drinks. The virus can also survive on surfaces and then be spread after contact in a similar manner. A person infected with mumps is contagious from approximately 6 days before the onset of symptoms until about 9 days after symptoms start. The incubation period (time until symptoms begin) can be from 14–25 days but is more typically 16–18 days

Symptoms of Mumps

The more common symptoms of mumps are:

  • Parotid inflammation (or parotitis) in 60–70% of infections and 95% of patients with symptoms Parotitis causes swelling and local pain, particularly when chewing. It can occur on one side (unilateral) but is more common on both sides (bilateral) in about 90% of cases.
  • Fever
  • Headache with malaise and anorexia
  • Orchitis, referring to painful inflammation of the testicle Males past puberty who develop mumps have a 30 percent risk of orchitis. Other symptoms of mumps can include dry mouth, sore face and/or ears and occasionally in more serious cases, loss of voice. In addition, up to 20% of persons infected with the mumps virus do not show symptoms, so it is possible to be infected and spread the virus without knowing it.

Treatment of Mumps

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Symptoms may be relieved by the application of intermittent ice or heat to the affected neck/testicular area and by acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol) for pain relief. Warm salt water gargles, soft foods, and extra fluids may also help relieve symptoms
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