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Mumps Disease: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment | Max Hospital

Mumps Disease: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

By Dr. Sanjay Dhall in Internal Medicine

Mar 13 , 2024 | 4 min read

What is Mumps Disease?

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the salivary glands, causing swelling and pain. It is caused by the mumps virus that spreads through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or direct contact with an infected person's saliva.

Mumps Disease Signs & Symptoms

At the beginning, the symptoms of mumps could be similar to the flu, including:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches or pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Once the salivary glands starts to swell, which happens within a few days, the symptoms can include:

Mumps Risk Factors

Certain groups of individuals are at a higher risk of contracting mumps. These groups include:

  • Individuals with weakened immune systems
  • International travellers
  • Those who have not been vaccinated against the virus
  • People residing in close-quarter settings, such as college campuses

Mumps Disease Diagnosis

The diagnosis of mumps viral disease includes:

Clinical Presentation 

Most cases of mumps can be diagnosed based on clinical symptoms and a history of exposure. 

Laboratory Diagnosis 

Although clinical symptoms can be suggestive, a definitive diagnosis is often made through laboratory testing, which may include:

  • Viral culture: This is the gold standard but is rarely used due to its complexity and the time it takes.
  • Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR): This is a quick and sensitive method to detect mumps RNA from a swab of the parotid duct or urine.
  • Serologic testing: Checking mumps-specific IgM and rising IgG antibodies can help confirm a diagnosis. However, vaccination and previous infections can affect the results.
  • Blood tests: Elevated serum amylase (due to parotid gland involvement) can sometimes be seen in mumps, although it's non-specific.

Differential Diagnosis

When evaluating a suspected case of mumps, other conditions that might resemble mumps should be considered:

  • Bacterial parotitis: This will often have pus draining from the parotid duct and might be associated with other signs of bacterial infection.
  • Lymphadenitis: Swelling of the lymph nodes rather than the parotid gland itself.
  • Tumours of the parotid gland.
  • Other viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Mumps Disease Treatment  

Where there isn't a specific cure available for mumps, the treatment aims to relieve symptoms until the body fights off the infection. Here are general recommendations for treating mumps:

  • Rest: The patient needs adequate rest, especially when feeling weak or tired.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), can help reduce fever and alleviate pain. However, it's essential to use them as directed and ensure they don't conflict with any other medications being taken.
  • Cold compresses: Applying ice or cold packs can help reduce the swelling of the salivary glands.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dehydration, especially with a fever.
  • Soft diet: Eating soft foods like soups, mashed potatoes, and yoghurt can be easier and less painful if the salivary glands are swollen. It's also recommended to avoid acidic or spicy foods and beverages, as they might cause further discomfort.

Mumps Disease Recovery and Aftercare

The majority of individuals with mumps will fully recover in a few weeks. Regular fluid intake and maintaining good oral hygiene can speed up recovery.

Read more - Viral Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatments

Mumps Disease Complications

Mumps is typically a mild disease, but if left untreated, it can lead to complications, such as:

  • Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints
  • Deafness: Permanent hearing loss
  • Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain
  • Meningitis: Inflammation of the protective tissue covering the brain and spinal cord
  • Oophoritis: Inflammation of the ovaries
  • Orchitis: Inflammation of the testicles
  • Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas
  • Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid gland

Additionally, mumps during pregnancy is usually not a significant concern, but it can (very rarely) result in complications, such as miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, congenital disabilities, or foetal death. If a pregnant person has been exposed to mumps and is looking for specialised care, they must consult one of the top mumps hospitals in India.

Mumps Disease Prevention 

Here are the primary preventive measures against mumps:

  • MMR vaccination: The most effective way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. It's important to note that while the MMR vaccine is very effective, no vaccine is 100% protective. That said, those who've received two doses of the MMR vaccine typically have a milder form of mumps if they get infected and are less likely to experience complications.
  • Avoid direct or close contact: If you know someone has mumps, avoid close contact with them, as the disease is contagious. This includes avoiding sharing utensils, cups, and other personal items.
  • Maintain good hygiene: Regular handwashing with soap and water or using hand sanitiser can help prevent the spread of the mumps virus. It's also essential to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Boost immunity: Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, managing stress, and getting adequate sleep can all play a role in strengthening the immune system, making one less susceptible to infections.

Can Mumps be Contracted Twice? 

Contracting mumps a second time is rare, especially for the vaccinated. However, to ensure peace of mind and optimum health, always consult with the top mumps doctors in India available at leading mumps hospitals in Delhi or elsewhere. 

Final Word

Mumps can be complicated, but awareness of its symptoms and taking preventive measures can help reduce its impact. At Max Hospitals, we're dedicated to ensuring that each individual receives the highest standard of care. Whether it's vaccination guidance or treatment for the affected, we're here to support and provide answers at every step of the healthcare journey.


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