‘Spreads through direct contact with saliva, respiratory droplets’

Srinagar: Mumps is a viral infection primarily affecting the salivary glands, particularly the parotid glands located near the ears, leading to their swelling. It is caused by the mumps virus, a member of the paramyxovirus family.

Doctors as per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that mumps is an acute disease primarily affecting children and young adults, caused by a single serotype of paramyxovirus.

They said it is a contagious disease which spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose or throat.

Dr Showkat, a general physician at the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK), said that the symptoms of mumps include swelling and pain in one or both parotid glands, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

He said mumps are characterised by puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw, resulting from swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, known as parotitis. “Mumps spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking, and by sharing utensils or cups with an infected person,” he explained.

According to Dr Sameer, mumps is often mild but can cause serious complications, especially in adults, which include orchitis (swelling of the testicles), Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries), Mastitis (swelling of the breast tissue), Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord) and hearing loss.

The most effective way to prevent mumps is through vaccination with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, Dr Sameer said, adding that it is typically administered in two doses during childhood.

Doctors said there is no cure for mumps and that the treatment focuses on supportive care including pain control, bed rest, fluids and fever reduction.

Management focuses on relieving symptoms which include rest, hydration, pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen and cold compresses to ease gland swelling.

They said most people recover from mumps within a few weeks without lasting effects, especially with supportive care and adequate rest while the vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of mumps worldwide.