Mumps is an acute viral disease characterized by fever, swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands, including the parotid gland, located just below the front of the ear. Mumps is transmitted by direct contact with saliva and discharge from the nose and throat of infected individuals.
Symptoms of mumps include:
> muscle aches
> loss of appetite
> swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands,
usually the parotid gland (located just below the front of the
Approximately one-third of infected people do not have apparent salivary gland swelling. Severe complications are rare. However, mumps can cause inflammation of the brain and /or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis / meningitis), inflammation of the testicles (orchitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis), spontaneous abortion, and deafness, which is usually permanent.
Mumps is contagious three days prior to, and nine days after, the onset of symptoms. The mumps vaccine, which is contained in the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, can prevent this disease. One dose of mumps vaccine will be effective in approximately 80% of people vaccinated, but two doses of mumps vaccine will be effective in approximately 90% of people. Therefore, two doses are better at preventing mumps than one dose. If you do not know if you have been vaccinated or had mumps disease diagnosed by a physician, vaccination is recommended.
The single most important thing people can do to prevent mumps and other infections is to wash their hands. Eating utensils should not be shared and surfaces that are frequently touched should also be regularly cleaned with soap and water, or with cleaning wipes.
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