VOL: 101, ISSUE: 24, PAGE NO: 28- Mumps is an acute virus infection that causes enlargement of the parotid glands (salivary glands in the cheeks a...
What is it?
- Mumps is an acute virus infection that causes enlargement of the parotid glands (salivary glands in the cheeks at the angle of the jaw).
- It has been a notifiable disease in the UK since October 1988.
- Mumps is caused by a virus from the myxovirus group.
- It is transmitted by droplet infection, mainly from infected saliva but also through urine.
- Incubation period is 14-21 days.
- It is contagious from several days before the parotid swelling to several days after it appears.
- It is similarly contagious to influenza and rubella.
- Exposed individuals should be considered infectious from 12-25 days after exposure.
- Dry mouth, fever with headache and difficulty swallowing.
- Unilateral or bilateral swelling of the parotid glands.
- At least 30 per cent of cases in children have no symptoms.
- Following puberty, mumps can cause swollen, tender, inflamed testicles.
- Treatment is based on alleviating symptoms.
- Paracetamol is used to reduce pain and fever. Regular rinsing of the mouth and a good fluid intake are also helpful.
- In cases of orchitis cool compresses can be helpful.
- The introduction of MMR vaccine in 1988 halted the three-yearly cycle of mumps epidemics.
- The routine schedule for immunisation consists of two MMR vaccinations.
- There is no single antigen mumps vaccine licensed in the UK.
- Aseptic meningitis occurs in 15 per cent of cases (usually without further complications).
- Orchitis (usually unilateral) occurs in up to 20 per cent of post-pubertal males. Sterility is rare.
- Oophritis occurs in five per cent of postpubertal female sufferers. Sterility is rare.
- Profound deafness in one ear occurs in 1:15,000 cases.
- Encephalitis occurs in 1:400 to 1:6000 cases. The case fatality rate for mumps encephalitis is 1.4 per cent.
- Mumps in the first trimester of pregnancy may increase the rate of spontaneous abortion.
- Mumps incidence peaks in winter and spring but has been reported throughout the year.
- It caused about 1,200 hospital admissions annually in England and Wales before MMR.
- The number of notified cases was stable from 1995-1999, with fewer than 2,000 notifications recorded annually. It rose from 1,691 in 1999 to 2,162 in 2000.
- A resurgence of mumps occurred in 1999 and 2000 with outbreaks predominantly affecting secondary school children in the north of England.
- Most cases occurred in those who had either never received a mumps-containing vaccine, as they were too old, or had received only one dose of MMR.