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Mumps Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The mumps is a contagious disease transmitted by a virus called paramyxovirus, causing an infection that causes swelling of one or both parotid glands (glands responsible saliva production) located near the ears. The neck and cheeks are swollen, which often causes significant pain when chewing or swallowing food.

The disease usually affects children. However, it is increasingly rare, especially in countries where the combined vaccine (the triple measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, named RRO in Quebec, ROR in France) is part of the free routine immunization program for women. Children.

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Transmission

The mumps virus is easily transmitted from person to person through infected saliva droplets (when a person coughs or sneezes, or through infected toys or dishes).

People infected with the mumps virus are highly contagious about 3 days before the onset of swelling of the parotid glands, known as parotitis, and up to 9 days later.
The most contagious period occurs 1 or 2 days after onset of parotitis and for 5 days thereafter.

Complications

Although rare, mumps can cause some complications:

  • A meningitis . It can be triggered if the infection spreads in the bloodstream and then in the nervous system (about 5% of mumps cases).
  • encephalitis (less than 1 mumps cases in 1000). It can occur if the infection spreads to the brain and can potentially be fatal.
  • pancreatitis.
  • Testicular infection (orchitis) or ovaries in young people who have reached puberty .
  • Deafness. Although this happens very rarely, mumps can cause permanent deafness in one or both ears.

The symptoms of mumps

The symptoms of mumps usually appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. Some people have little or sometimes no symptoms of the disease:

  • fever ;
  • headaches ;
  • swelling of one or more glands near the jaw causing swelling of the cheeks;
  • pain when swallowing or chewing food
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • ear or muscle pain

Some symptoms are signs of serious complications:

  • a fever that reaches 40 ° C (104 ° F);
  • stiffness in the neck;
  • convulsions;
  • dizziness
  • an intense headache
  • abdominal pain:
  • swelling or tenderness of one or both testicles

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Prevent mumps

Why prevent?
Although mumps is infrequent in Canada and France, epidemic outbreaks are common. These arise mainly in people whose vaccines are not up to date or in those who have received a single dose of the preventive vaccine.

Epidemic outbreaks frequently occur in many parts of the world. Travelers can get the virus abroad and pass it on to non-immune children in North America or Europe.

 

Can we prevent?
Mumps can be prevented with the triple measles, mumps and rubella vaccine called RRO in Quebec, ROR in France. Two doses of vaccine are required to be fully protected against mumps.

 

Basic preventive measures
Routine immunization schedules in Canada include 2 doses of MMR (measles, rubella, and mumps) or MMRV (combined with varicella vaccine). A first injection takes place around the age of 12 to 15 months and the second dose at 18 months or from 4 to 6 years (before school entry).

In France, the first dose of MMR vaccine is recommended at 12 months and the second dose should be administered between 13 and 24 months. For children who are admitted to the community before the age of 12 months, it is recommended that they be vaccinated at 9 months of age for the first dose and 12-15 months for the second dose.

For those who have not been vaccinated, two doses of MMR / MMR (Canada) or MMR (France) may be given at a minimum interval of 6 weeks, until the age of 12 years. A second dose may also be given to children under 12 who have received only one dose of the vaccine.

 

Measures to prevent complications
If you or your child has been diagnosed with mumps, be alert to certain symptoms that may indicate complications.

 

MMR or MMR vaccine does not cause autism

In 1998, a British study concluded that a link between autism and exposure to certain vaccines, and in particular the measles, rubella and mumps vaccine. However, several studies have subsequently shown that there is no association between vaccination and autism.

The main author of the study is now accused of fraud. (Read the document: Autism and Immunization: A Controversy Story )

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Medical treatment of mumps

In most cases, the disease cures itself after about 2 weeks and does not require intervention.

It is nevertheless possible to relieve some symptoms such as pain or fever:

  • compresses of cold water or lukewarm water can relieve the swelling of the parotid glands;
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tempra, Panadol, etc.) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.).

Caution: Do not give ibuprofen to a child under 6 months of age, and never give acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), such as Aspirin, to a child or teenager.

To accelerate healing, it is important to:

    • promote quiet activities and rest;
    • Frequently drink water, juice, soup. Avoid overly acidic juices (orange, lemonade, grapes) that increase the pain of the salivary glands;
  • Consume soft foods (purees, yogurt, ice cream, etc …) in small quantities, 5 or 6 times a day.

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