Mumps – It is a highly contagious viral illness, which affects the inside mucosa of the mouth and the parotid glands. Disease is presented as severe pain over parotid gland and swelling of parotid gland. It is usually self-limiting and symptoms disappear within a week to 10 days of its onset. Mumps usually affects children, but adults can also be affected by the mumps viruses. Nowadays, vaccines are available to protect people from getting mumps. In this article, we will discuss about the various causes, risk factors, and certain facts about Mumps.
How Do We Define Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis?
As mentioned, Mumps is a viral infection, which is transmitted only by human beings. One of the salivary gland known as parotid glands is infected by viruses resulting in Mumps Infection. Mumps virus infection may spread to other organ systems. At present, there is no specific antiviral medication to cure Mumps Infection. The disease is self-limiting and gets resolved in a week to 10 days. Frequency of mump infection is significantly low following use of vaccine in new born and children. Infection was more prevalent in late winters and early spring.
Causes of Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis
The Mumps virus contains a solitary strand of RNA present inside a two-layered envelope, which provides it the characteristic immune name. The virus that causes Mumps Infection does not have any subtypes. Mumps is an extremely contagious disease and spreads rapidly among other children who are in contact with patient. The Mumps virus is generally spread directly from individual to individual through respiratory droplets. It may not be frequent but sometimes the infected respiratory droplets may be present on pillows and bed sheets. Contact with contaminated pillow and bed sheet as well as furniture can cause transmission of viruses resulting in symptoms of mumps. The symptom onset after being exposed to the virus is generally two weeks from the day of exposure. When there is onset of symptoms, the infected individual should be isolated from other people as soon as there is visible swelling of the parotid glands.
Some Common Facts About Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis
- Mumps is extremely contagious and it lasts about a week to 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
- Initially, the symptoms of Mumps Infection or Epidemic Parotitis are as follows:
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle pains
- Generalized weakness
- Painful swelling on side of face in front of ear
- Swelling appear around third day of initial symptoms
- Some of the serious complications of mumps are meningitis, encephalitis etc.
- There is no particular lab test to diagnose Mumps.
- The MMR vaccine is approximately 80% effective in preventing Mumps.
- There is no cure for Mumps. It resolves spontaneously in a week to 10 days. During the acute phase of the infection, medications like Tylenol or Advil may be helpful. Apart from medications, warm and cold packs are also helpful.
Are There Any Risk Factors For Contracting Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis?
- The main reason for contracting the Mumps Infection is failing to take the required immunization during period of newborn and childhood.
- Children are at higher risk of contracting the Mumps Infection. It affects children between the ages of 3 to 12.
- A compromised immune system may also result in contracting Mumps Infection.
The initial symptoms of Mumps Infection start with low grade fever, headache, muscle pains, decreased appetite after which there is intense swelling of the parotid glands. The parotid gland becomes tender to palpation and there may be pain to the ear. This swelling of the Parotid gland may be present for up to a week to 10 days. The symptoms are much intense and worse in adults than in children.
Diagnosis Of Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis
The diagnosis of Mumps is generally made on the basis of clinical symptoms. There may be routine laboratory tests conducted to rule out other potential viruses that could be causing the same symptoms and exclude other diseases like Sjogren syndrome, sarcoidosis etc. which have similar symptoms.
Treatment For Mumps or Epidemic Parotitis
- The front line treatment of Mumps Infection is supportive care as the disease is self-limiting and resolves spontaneously.
- Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)- Tylenol and Motrin are commonly used during initial phase for inflammation and pain
- Analgesics- NSAIDs such as Tylenol and Motrin syrup are used if pain continues as predominant symptoms.
- Applying warm or cold packs can help with the swelling of the parotid glands.