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Mumps: Clinical features, Complications, Management-PDF

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What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious viral infection caused by the Mumps virus, which is an RNA virus. The virus is primarily transmitted through the inhalation of airborne droplets from an infected person. The incubation period for mumps is typically 2-4 weeks.


Once the virus enters the body, it replicates in the nasopharynx before spreading to regional lymph nodes. From there, the virus enters the bloodstream, leading to viremia. The virus then targets various tissues in the body, including the salivary glands, pancreas, testes, ovaries, thyroid, meninges, heart, liver, kidneys, and joints.

Clinical features

The clinical features of mumps typically begin with a prodromal stage lasting 1-2 days. This stage is characterized by symptoms such as anorexia, fever, myalgia, malaise, headache, vomiting, sore throat, and earache on chewing and swallowing. At the end of the prodromal stage, there is usually painful swelling of the parotid gland, which may start as unilateral but later become bilateral in about two-thirds of cases.

Complications of mumps

The complications of mumps can include.

  • Orchitis or epididymo-orchitis in males
  • Oophoritis in females
  • Aseptic meningitis or meningoencephalitis
  • Myocarditis
  • Transient myelitis
  • Polyneuritis
  • Hearing loss
  • Pancreatitis
  • Carditis
  • Thyroiditis
  • Arthralgia, arthritis, and nephritis.

How to diagnose?

Diagnosis of disease is mainly clinical, based on a history of contact with an affected patient and characteristic clinical features. Investigations such as complete blood counts (CBC) and peripheral blood film (PBF) are nonspecific. Serum amylase levels may be elevated in both mumps parotitis and pancreatitis, while serum lipase levels are elevated only in pancreatitis.

Treatment for mumps

  • Primarily supportive and includes counselling parents about the disease and its complications.
  • Maintaining a usual diet with plenty of fluids.
  • Prescribing paracetamol for fever and pain.
  • Maintaining oral hygiene with warm saline mouthwash and regular tooth brushing.
  • In cases of orchitis, steroids may be used to reduce pain and edema.

Prevention of mumps

It is possible through vaccination with the MMR vaccine, which is administered in two doses:

  • The first dose at 12-15 months of age
  • The second dose at 4-6 years of age

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