What is Mumps ?
Mumps is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects the salivary glands, specifically the parotid glands, which are located in the cheeks. Although the disease is primarily known for causing painful swelling in the cheeks, it can also cause a range of other symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and loss of appetite.
Mumps is caused by the mumps virus, which is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family. The virus is spread through direct contact with saliva or mucus from the nose or mouth of an infected person. The virus can also be spread through droplets from a sneeze or cough, or by sharing objects contaminated with saliva, such as utensils, cups, or towels.
In children, mumps is often a mild illness that resolves on its own within a few weeks. However, in some cases, mumps can cause more serious complications. For example, mumps can infect the central nervous system and cause meningitis or encephalitis, which can lead to permanent brain damage or hearing loss. Mumps can also infect the testicles in males, causing orchitis, which can lead to infertility.
Mumps is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, although anyone can get the disease. In the United States, mumps was once a common childhood illness, but the widespread use of the mumps vaccine has significantly reduced the incidence of the disease.
The mumps vaccine is typically given as part of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, which is usually given to children at 12 to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is highly effective at preventing mumps, and the risk of mumps is much lower in populations with high vaccine coverage.
In conclusion, mumps is a contagious viral disease that can cause painful swelling in the cheeks and a range of other symptoms. The mumps vaccine is highly effective at preventing the disease, and widespread vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of mumps. However, outbreaks of mumps still occur, particularly in populations with low vaccine coverage.