Mumps

Mumps or epidemic parotitis is a viral disease of the human species, caused by the mumps virus. Prior to the development of vaccination and the introduction of a vaccine, it was a common childhood disease worldwide, and is still a significant threat to health in the third world.

Painful swelling of the salivary glands (classically the parotid gland) is the most typical presentation. Painful testicular swelling (orchitis) and rash may also occur. The symptoms are generally not severe in children.[1]


The disease has been recognized for several centuries, and medical historians argue over whether the name "mumps" comes from an old word for "lump" or an old word for "mumble."

Mumps was common until the mumps vaccine was licensed in 1967. Before the vaccine, more than 200,000 cases occurred each year in the United States. Since then the number of cases has dropped to fewer than 1,000 a year, and epidemics have become fairly rare. As in the pre-vaccine era, most cases of mumps are still in kids ages 5 to 14, but the proportion of young adults who become infected has been rising slowly over the last two decades. Mumps infections are uncommon in kids younger than 1 year old.[3]

Signs and Symptoms

Cases of mumps may start with a fever of up to 103° Fahrenheit (39.4° Celsius), as well as a headache and loss of appetite. The well-known hallmark of mumps is swelling and pain in the parotid glands, making the child look like a hamster with food in its cheeks. The glands usually become increasingly swollen and painful over a period of 1 to 3 days. The pain gets worse when the child swallows, talks, chews, or drinks acidic juices (like orange juice).[4]

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Symptoms may be relieved by the application of intermittent ice or heat to the affected neck area and by acetaminophen/paracetamol (Tylenol) for pain relief. Aspirin is not used due to a hypothetical link with Reye's syndrome. Warm salt water gargles, soft foods, and extra fluids may also help relieve symptoms.

Patients are advised to avoid fruit juice or any acidic foods, since these stimulate the salivary glands, which can be painful.[5]

mumps virus

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Notes:
[1] Wikipedia
[2] ibid
[3] kidshealth.org
[4] ibid
[5] Wikipedia


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