All you Need to Know about Mumps

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease cause by a virus that affects the respiratory airways.

Who is at Risk of Mumps?

Everyone is susceptible to mumps. However, it can have a more serious impact for certain people.

  • Children especially between 5-9 years of age
  • Adolescents
  • Adults are at greater risk of complications

What are the Symptoms on Mumps?

Mumps initially have non-specific symptoms followed by;

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain

These usually occur before the most common symptom: Swollen or tender salivary glands.

People can have mumps for 16-18 days before symptoms show.

20% people display no symptoms at all and a further 40-50% have only non-specific symptoms, without swollen salivary glands.

How do you get Mumps?

People are usually contagious before swelling starts and for up to 9 days afterwards. The disease is spread when a person coughs or sneezes. You can also get sick when you come into contact with a contaminated object like a toy.

In 2011, 726,617 cases on mumps were reported globally. That is equivalent to 1 case every minute.Although serious complications are rare, mumps can cause severe problems especially for adults and adolescents including meningitis, arthritis and deafness. In some instances, it can result in ovarian or testicular inflammation.

How can you protect against Mumps?

As recommended by the world health organization, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent mumps. In 2010, vaccination programmes were estimated to have resulted in a reduction in cases up to 98%.

The spread of disease can also be prevented by:

  • Infected people remaining away from school or work
  • Hand washing
  • Use and proper disposal of tissues

For people who develop mumps, this commonly results in lifelong protection from further infections.

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