Mumps cases are increasing in Kerala, with nearly 2,505 reported cases of this viral disease in the state this month alone. The rapid spread of mumps has raised concerns among health authorities, particularly after recording 190 cases in a single day on March 10. The disease, caused by the paramyxovirus, typically presents mild symptoms, but less than 1% of cases may experience complications like brain swelling or hearing loss post-vaccination. Although mumps can affect any age group, it is more prevalent among children aged 5-9 years. The incubation period lasts around 2 to 4 weeks, starting with symptoms such as muscle pain, headache, fatigue, and low-grade fever, progressing to swelling of the parotid salivary glands.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides mumps vaccines in various forms, including monovalent, bivalent measles-mumps, or trivalent measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines. Mumps spreads through direct contact or airborne droplets from infected individuals’ upper respiratory tracts. Not everyone infected develops symptoms, but common signs include swollen salivary glands, sore throat, fever, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Recovery from mumps, preventable by the MMR vaccine, generally takes about two weeks.

Despite the effectiveness of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in controlling spread, outbreaks are still reported, albeit with milder symptoms in vaccinated individuals. Dr. Neha Rastogi, an infectious diseases consultant, lists the symptoms of mumps as swelling and pain in the parotid glands, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Dr. Rastogi explains that mumps outbreaks stem from factors like low vaccination rates, close contact in communal living settings, and compromised immunity in certain individuals. Managing mumps involves supportive care with hydration, pain relief, and proper nutrition. Preventive measures include vaccination, good hygiene practices, isolation of infected individuals, contact tracing, and public health campaigns to control outbreaks and transmission. The MMR vaccine remains the most effective preventive measure against mumps, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for at-risk individuals or those planning travel to outbreak-prone areas.

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