Mumps, also known as epidemic parotitis, is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus. Initial signs and symptoms often include fever, muscle pain, headache, and feeling tired. This is then usually followed by painful swelling of one or both parotid glands. Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure and resolve after seven to ten days. Symptoms in adults are often more severe than in children. About a third of people have mild or no symptoms. Complications may include infections of the covering of the brain (15 percent), pancreatitis (four percent), permanent deafness, and painful testicular swelling which uncommonly results in infertility. Women may developovarian swelling but this does not increase the risk of infertility.
Mumps is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among people living in close quarters. The virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected person. Only humans get and spread the disease. People are infectious to each other from about seven days before the start of symptoms to about eight days after. After an infection a person is typically immune for life. Reinfection is possible but tends to be mild. Diagnosis is usually suspected due to parotid swelling and can be confirmed by isolating the virus on a swab of the parotid duct. Testing for IgM antibodies in the blood is simple and may be useful; however, can be falsely negative in those who have been immunized.
Mumps is preventable by two doses of the mumps vaccine. Most of the developed world includes it in their immunization programs, often in combination with measles and rubella vaccine. Countries that have low immunization rates may see an increase in cases among older age groups and thus worse outcomes. There is no specific treatment. Efforts involve controlling symptoms with pain medication such as acetaminophen. Intravenous immunoglobulin may be useful in certain complications. Hospitalization may be required if meningitis or pancreatitis develops. About one per ten thousand people who are infected die.
Without immunization about 0.1 percent to one percent of the population are affected per year. Widespread vaccination has resulted in a more than 90 percent decline in rates of disease. Mumps is more common in the developing world where vaccination is less common. Outbreaks, however, may still occur in a vaccinated population. Before the introduction of a vaccine, mumps was a common childhood disease worldwide. Larger outbreaks of disease would typically occur every two to five years. Children between the ages of five and nine were most commonly affected. Among immunized population often those in their early 20s are affected. Around the equator it often occurs all year round while in the more northerly and southerly regions of the world it is more common in the winter and spring. Painful swelling of the parotid glands and testicles were described byHippocrates in the 5th century BCE.
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