Why Is Mumps A Highly Contagious Preventable Disease?
Why Is Mumps A Highly Contagious Preventable Disease?.
Mumps is a disease caused by a type of Rubulavirus, Mumps is a contagious virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact. The viral infection causes the salivary glands at the base and back of the jaw to swell, which causes the jaw and cheeks to become tender and puffy. There are three sets of salivary glands on each side of your face, located behind and below your ears. The hallmark symptom of mumps is swelling of the salivary glands.
Thought the disease is highly contagious but easily preventable with a vaccine. In the U.S., from Jan. 1 to March 29, 2019, there have been 426 mumps infections reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mumps can have serious health implications, such as permanent sterility in men, miscarriage, hearing loss, inflammation of the brain, meningitis, pancreatitis or heart problems. These complications are more likely to affect teens and adults than young children.[What Alzheimer’s Diseases? Symptoms And Causes]
What Are the Symptoms of Mumps?
Symptoms of mumps usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus. Flu-like symptoms may be the first to appear, though they may appear anywhere between 12 and 25 days after infection, according to the CDC. Mumps symptoms include:
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- body aches
- loss of appetite
- low-grade fever
A high fever of 103°F (39°C) and swelling of the salivary glands follow over the next few days. The glands may not all swell at once. More commonly, they swell and become painful periodically. You are most likely to pass the mumps virus to another person from the time you come into contact with the virus to when your parotid glands swell.
What Are the Treatment for Mumps
The most obvious symptom of mumps are the puffy cheeks that result from swollen salivary glands. Because mumps is a virus, it doesn’t respond to antibiotics or other medications. However, you can treat the symptoms to make yourself more comfortable while you’re sick. These include:
- Rest when you feel weak or tired.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, to bring down your fever.
- Soothe swollen glands by applying ice packs.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration due to fever.
- Eat a soft diet of soup, yogurt, and other foods that aren’t hard to chew (chewing may be painful when your glands are swollen).
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages that may cause more pain in your salivary glands.
There is no treatment for mumps, only treatment for the symptoms until the immune system has defeated the virus, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Drinking plenty of fluids, using over-the-counter medications for pain, and placing ice or hot compresses on the swollen areas of the face can help provide comfort. [High-Potency Marijuana Use Linked with Psychosis]
The United States started the first mumps vaccination program in the world in 1967. At the time, about 186,000 mumps cases were reported in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. In 1989, the two-dose mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccination program was introduced. Most industrialized countries now include the mumps vaccine in their immunization program.
Children should receive their first dose of the vaccine at 12 to 15 months old and their second dose at 4 to 6 years old. According to the CDC, two doses provide an 88% less chance of contracting the disease, while a person who receives only one dose has a 78% reduced chance of getting the infection.
However, the number of cases has been increasing since 2006. Some experts believe the increase is because of parents opting to not vaccinate their children because of the anti-vax movement, and because the vaccination’s immunity wears off after a decade.
“Unfortunately, mumps is again becoming more common because there is a small but significant incidence of individuals who are not vaccinated against it and other important viral illnesses,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at South Nassau Communities Hospital in New York.
“Better education and understanding of the safety and efficacy of these vaccinations will hopefully result in improved outcomes and less of these preventable serious viral infections,” Glatt said.
Additional resources for more research on mumps:
- Learn about your options for receiving the mumps vaccine, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Learn what mumps looks like in adults, from Hopkins Medicine.