Mumps is an acute viral infection characterized by non-specific signs and symptoms presenting as muscle ache, tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, and fever. This may be followed by acute onset of unilateral or bilateral tender swelling of the parotid or other salivary glands which are located in the lower jaw area. In more severe cases, the virus can also spread to other tissues, including the pancreas, testes, ovaries, and the meninges surrounding the brain. Spontaneous abortion can occur.
Transmission of mumps virus occurs by direct contact with respiratory droplets, saliva, or contaminated surfaces. The incubation period ranges from 12-25 (generally 16-18) days from exposure to the onset of symptoms. The virus has been isolated from saliva from between 2 to 7 days before symptom onset until 9 days after onset of symptoms.
Colleges and universities are at increased risk for mumps transmission because these communities are highly mobile yet tend to concentrate large numbers of persons in living, learning, and social environments. The current virus strain has been identified as genotype G, a common genotype circulating un the United Kingdom and globally. A large outbreak is ongoing in the UK at this time (April 2006).
Mumps is usually self-limiting. Treatment is usually directed at relieving the symptoms. The over-the-counter medications Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen are recommended for relief of discomfort and fever.
Control measures include:
CONTACT HEALTH SERVICE OR YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR CONCERNS.