Mumps: a not so uncommon viral infection but which has thankfully reduced in incidence owing to routine immunization coverage in India.However sporadic case reports are there from time to time and mainly affects the unvaccinated.
What is mumps? Mumps affects the salivary glands located near the ears.
Symptoms and signs The symptoms become evident within two weeks of exposure to virus usually.The commonest clinical features are as follows:
Swelling of the face on one or both sides below the ears causing the cheeks to be puffing out Fever Pain over the swelling Headache Fatigue Muscle pain etc
Remember,Mumps is a highly contagious disease and hence if suspicious,care must be taken to prevent the spread.
How do I get infected? It is usually spread through the saliva droplets when inhaled in from the coughing or sneezing of an infected person.It can also get transmitted through fomites (shared materials).
Why should I be worried of this disease? Mumps is known for its varied potentially deleterious complications and is the reason why it must be feared.
Infertility : Mumps in boys before they attain puberty and affect the testes and can lead to sterility.It is not uncommon to notice male infertility in men who have a positive history of mumps.
Meningitis and encephalitis: refers to infection of brain which can lead to neurological complications.
Miscarriages : If the expectant mother contracts the disease in the first three months.
Treatment Being a viral infection, supportive treatment and symptomatic management is the key Antibiotics have no role until secondary infections or complications such as meningitis occur.
Prevention Your best shot of protection against Mumps is the MMR vaccine which is a combined vaccine for the three deadly diseases - Mumps,Measles and Rubella.The Indian Academy of Paediatricians recommend two doses of vaccine,one at 9 months of age and the second at 18 months.
Are there any contraindications against MMR vaccination? Yes,there are a few.MMR vaccine is not advisable if: There is history of allergy to any component of the vaccine
Pregnant or likely to be pregnant
Immunocompromised like AIDS.
Some misconceptions with MMR vaccine The commonest misconception surrounding MMR vaccination is the role of it in causing Autism.This has been proved to be a false claim and parents are advised not to be afraid of such a connection.In fact the original study which sparked the debate has been retracted due to poor design and questionable research methods.
Remember that mumps is a preventable disease as the few cases observed has been seen in unvaccinated individuals only.