Mumps or epidemic parotitis is a viral disease of humans. It can be transmitted via respiratory route (respiratory droplets as coughing or sneezing). It was a common childhood disease worldwide before the mumps vaccine, and it is still a significant threat to health in the third world.
Painful swelling of the salivary glands (classically the parotid gland) and fever is the most typical presentation. Painful testicular swelling and rash may also occur. While symptoms are generally not severe in children, the symptoms in teenagers and adults can be more severe and complications such as infertility or subfertility are relatively common, although still rare in absolute terms. The disease is generally self-limited, running its course before waning, with no specific treatment apart from controlling the symptoms with painkillers.
The mumps are caused by a paramyxovirus, and are spread from person to person by saliva droplets or direct contact with articles that have been contaminated with infected saliva. The parotid glands (the salivary glands between the ear and the jaw) are usually involved. Unvaccinated children between the ages of 2 and 12 are most commonly infected, but the infection can occur in other age groups. Orchitis (swelling of the testes) occurs in 10-20% of infected males, but sterility only rarely ensues; a viral meningitis occurs in about 5% of those infected. In older people, the central nervous system, the pancreas, the prostate, the breasts, and other organs may be involved.
The incubation period is usually 18 to 21 days, but may range from as few as 12 to as many as 35 days. Mumps is generally a mild illness in children in developed countries. After adolescence, mumps tends to affect the ovary, causing oophoritis, and the testes, causing orchitis. The mature testis is particularly susceptible to damage from mumps which can lead to infertility. Adults infected with mumps are more likely to develop severe symptoms and complications.
The more common symptoms of mumps are:
Other symptoms of mumps can include, sore face and/or ears and occasionally in more serious cases, loss of voice.
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