Paediatrics => Mumps
Mumps, acute infectious disease caused by a virus that mainly attacks glandular and nervous tissues, frequently characterized by swelling of the salivary glands. The disease is worldwide in distribution and can occur in epidemics. Its incidence is highest between the ages of 5 and 9, but mumps may attack persons of any age. Because the salivary gland most often affected is the parotid, mumps is also known as epidemic parotitis. The disease rarely involves the sex glands, the meninges, or the pancreas.
Mumps is spread from person to person by droplets sprayed from the respiratory tract of infected persons, and it is highly contagious. The incubation period of the disease varies from 15 to 21 days. Few fatalities result from mumps, and one attack usually confers complete immunity, because only one antigenic type of virus causes this disease. In children, the first symptoms are usually a mild fever, a feeling of illness and chilliness, loss of appetite, and dryness of the throat. This is followed by soreness and swelling around the ears, and a higher fever. These symptoms are usually gone by 12 days. In adult males, inflammation of the testes occurs in up to 20 percent of the cases, but resultant sterility is rare. In children, infection of the auditory nerve can cause deafness, but this is also a rare result.
Persons exposed to mumps are usually quarantined. Many persons have mumps in such a mild form, however, that it is not recognized, but they still acquire immunity to the disease.