Mumps is a disease caused by a virus and occurs only in human beings.
Mumps is found all over the world. Mumps is a contagious disease when the
salivary glands, on one or both sides of the jaw, swells. Mumps usually occurs
in school age children, but young adults may catch the disease. Everyone born
before1957 has already had mumps. After one attack of mumps, you will have
lifelong immunity. The mumps virus is spread by contact of another person’s
discharge from the nose or mouth. The virus is present in these discharges from
six days before symptoms to nine days after the glands begin to swell. The virus
will then incubate for two to three weeks before symptoms appear.
Symptoms include headaches, jaw being painful and tender to the touch,
fever, and difficulty swallowing. The swelling usually disappears after seven
to ten days. Some complications includedeafness (usually only in one ear),
arthritis, meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) and pancreatitis
(inflammation of the pancreas). One of every four male adults with the virus
will develop orchtis,which is inflammation of the testes. Sometimes females
will have inflammation of the ovaries. Extremely rare cases will result in
sterility. Mumps is diagnosed by symptoms, but a blood, urine or saliva test
can confirm that you have the virus. Treatment of the virus includes diet of
soft foods, bed rest, and pain relievers. The mumps vaccine is given to
children that are about twelve months old. The vaccine is usually conbined with
measles and rubella vaccines, which is called the MMR vaccine.