Mumps is a contagious viral infection that affects the parotid salivary glands situated partly below and partly in front of the ears. Children between the ages 5 and 9 years are most often affected. It is caused by paramyxovirus specie and this is the only single serotype.

SYMPTOMS
The disease condition may be asymptomatic in some people infected with the disease. The symptoms mostly present, however, two to three weeks in some persons and may include:
• Fever
• Headache
• Muscle aches
• Swelling of the salivary glands which may affect one or both sides of your face (parotitis)
• Weakness and fatigue
• Loss of appetite
• Painful chewing
• Esophagitis (difficulty in swallowing)

CAUSATIVE AGENT
Mumps is caused by the RNA Rubulavirus found within the genus Paramyxovirus of the family Paramyxoviridae.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION
It is mostly transmitted through the salivary droplets of an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, he/she releases the viruses suspended in the salivary droplets into the air. This can cause the infection to develop in any one susceptible, especially those who are not immunized against the disease. It can also be contacted through sharing of utensils or cups with an infected person.

DIAGNOSIS/CLINICAL EXAMINATION
Mumps can be diagnosed by the physical symptoms such as observing the areas of the face around the ears. Further examination can also be done and they may include:
• Checking the position of the tonsils in the oral cavity. A swollen parotid gland will push aside the tonsil and this will only be visible from inside the mouth.
• Checking the patient’s body temperature reading. This however may not be a reliable method to determine if a patient has mumps as there are other conditions that can affect body temperature.
• Collecting the blood, urine and saliva for culture.
• Analysis of the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) especially in severe cases.

It is important to know that mumps is not the only the condition that can generate some of the symptoms mentioned above, other conditions such as blocked duct of the parotid gland, inflamed tonsils, gingivitis and sore-throat can also generate some of the symptoms. It is therefore necessary to perform the diagnosis in order to be specific in the management.

TREATMENT
Mumps is a viral disease and as such, has no specified pharmacological treatment as there are no anti-viral medications for the condition. However, the symptoms can be managed to help reduce the effect of the symptoms. The body in most cases builds immunity against viral infections as is the case with common cold.
Here are some steps that can be taken to help relieve the symptoms:
• Taking plenty water and fluid meals. Avoid taking juice as this can stimulate production of saliva
• Putting something cold on the swollen area to alleviate the pain.
• Eating liquid food which can help reduce the pain experienced when chewing solid food.
• Gargling warm salt water.
• Administration of analgesics such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
• Cold compress of the cheeks where the pain radiates from

COMPLICATIONS
Complications of mumps are actually rare but may be present and may include:
• Epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of the testes)
• Meningo-encephalitis ( inflammation of the brain and its covering)
• Hearing loss/ partial deafness,
• Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancrease)
• Oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries)
• Mastitis ( inflammation of the breast)
• Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscles)
• Viruria (presence of virus in the urine)
• Abnormal renal function may suggest presence of mumps virus in the kidney.

SOURCES
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). 2017

Mumps. 2017
http://www.who.int/immunization/topics/mumps/en/index1.html

Mumps. July 27, 2016
http://www.cdc.gov/mumps/outbreaks/outbreak-patient-qa.html