Mumps is caused by the mumps virus and is a highly contagious disease spread by the saliva or air when the infected droplets of mucus get sprayed when a person sneezes or coughs. But this disease is less contagious as compared to either chicken pox or measles.
The patients first feel very sick and experience headache, appetite-loss, and low fever. The most common symptom after the onset of mumps is the inflammation of salivary glands and also swelling below the ear. The swollen areas may be become tender during the infection period and lasts for weeks. Some patients experience dryness in the mouth and also extreme fatigue. Mild abdominal pain may also occur. Swallowing and chewing may become painful during the infection period.
The patients who have contracted this disease once will not get recurring infection as they develop antibodies and resistance during the first infection which protects them for a lifetime. Hence, the next time the mumps virus attacks the victim, the body would be able to fight it off. Hence, it is very rare that people can get multiple mumps attacks in a lifetime.
The incubation period of mumps is generally about two to three weeks after which symptoms show up. Infected persons can spread the disease easily about two days before the infection starts and 5 days after the swelling of the gland begins. The recovery period is about a week to ten days.
Immunization with MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine protects 90-95 percent of people after the first time it is administered at about 15 months of the child. The second dose may be administered three years later.
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