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What is mumps and the Causes of mumps?

It is a painful inflammation of the salivary glands, spreading to other glands in the body. Mumps mainly affects children and adolescents and is most serious in patients who have passed puberty.

The mumps of mumps is a viral infection and generalized, acute, mainly in children and adolescents. It is a contagious disease that only affects humans.

They are characterized by painful inflammation of the salivary glands, especially the parotid gland, which is bilateral and is found on both sides of the face, affecting one or both parotids. Other salivary glands such as the submaxillary and sublingual glands can also become inflamed.

Sometimes the mumps virus can affect other parts of the body such as the testicles, giving rise to epididymal-orchitis, or the meninges, producing meningitis.

The orchitis is rare in children but occurs in 15-30% of adults with mumps. Sometimes it causes infertility. Meningitis occurs in 1-10% of people with mumps. It is usually a benign process in children, but it can be more severe in adults. Other rarer complications of mumps are deafness or pancreatitis.

Mumps is a disease that can be prevented through vaccination. However, in recent years there have been many outbreaks in European and American countries.

These outbreaks affect mainly young adults due to insufficient vaccination of some populations or to the use in the past of vaccines with low immunogenic capacity.

Who is affected by mumps

Mumps has a universal distribution. Before the advent of the vaccine, it was a disease that mainly affected children 4-5 years of age. In Western countries, epidemics broke out every four to five years. By 14-15 years of age, more than 90% of the population had passed the disease.

The incidence of mumps decreased markedly after the introduction of vaccination in the childhood immunization schedule. One dose of vaccine is 80% effective, so it generally takes two doses of vaccine to be properly immunized. People who have had the disease have lifelong immunity.

Currently, the highest proportion of cases occurs among unvaccinated people or those who have received only one vaccine dose. For this reason, cases have been seen in people vaccinated with that strain who did not obtain a sufficient level of immunity.

Causes of mumps

The virus that causes mumps belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae and is grouped within the genus Rubulavirus. It is a virus with medium-high contagiousness, and that is only found in humans.

The virus that causes mumps is found in patients’ respiratory secretions and is transmitted by droplets of saliva that they expel when they speak, cough or sneeze.

It can be found in patients’ saliva from the seven days before to nine days after the onset of symptoms. Therefore, it is difficult to control its spread since it can be transmitted from a person who does not yet have any symptoms. Also, up to one in three people with mumps may remain without showing signs but can transmit the disease, making it very difficult to control.

After coming into contact with a mumps patient, the virus is localized in the epithelium cells of the upper respiratory tract. It reproduces, passes into the blood, and initially spreads to the salivary glands, mainly the parotid gland and the central nervous system, especially the meninges. Later it spreads through the blood to other organs such as the testicles, ovaries, pancreas, thyroid gland, kidney, and other organs.

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that immunity is maintained throughout life after overcoming the disease.