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Mumps a Viral Disease, Vaccination Crucial to Control It: Doctors

Srinagar, Jun 04 (WD): 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 speaking with the news agency—Wattan daily (WD) said that mumps is an acute disease primarily affecting children and young adults, caused by a single serotype of paramyxovirus. They highlighted that 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), explained that the symptoms of mumps include swelling and pain in one or both parotid glands, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Mumps is characterized 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,” Dr Showkat elaborated. He emphasized the importance of recognizing these transmission methods to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Dr Sameer, mumps is often mild but can cause serious complications, especially in adults. These complications 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 noted. He added that it is typically administered in two doses during childhood, which has significantly contributed to reducing the incidence of mumps worldwide.

Doctors stated there is no cure for mumps and that the treatment focuses on supportive care, including pain control, bed rest, fluids, and fever reduction. Management of the disease primarily involves relieving symptoms, with recommended measures including rest, hydration, pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and cold compresses to ease gland swelling.

They concluded that most people recover from mumps within a few weeks without lasting effects, especially with supportive care and adequate rest. The vaccination has significantly reduced the incidence of mumps globally, underscoring the importance of maintaining high vaccination coverage to control the spread of this viral disease.

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