What You Should Know About Mumps: A Disease From the Past Makes a Resurgence

Mumps may seem like a contagion relegated to history books, but like many other diseases of the past now preventable with a vaccine, mumps has been making a resurgence | Infection Control Today

B0006271 Mumps virus protein in cultured cells

Image source: Paul Duprex – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

Cases are at 10-year high and are especially common on college campuses across the country. Now the Dallas area is seeing the largest outbreak in Texas in years. Cristie Columbus, MD, vice dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine’s Dallas campus and an infectious disease specialist, explains what people need to know about the mumps.

What is mumps?: Mumps is caused by a virus, specifically a type of Rubulavirus in the Paramyxovirus family. Before the vaccine was widely introduced in the United States in 1967, nearly every child would become infected. Although cases have declined more than 99 percent since then, outbreaks do still occasionally occur.

What are the symptoms of mumps?: The classic symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw that can make it difficult to eat. Other symptoms, which last seven to 10 days, may include a fever, fatigue and head and muscle aches. Some people—possibly as many as 40 percent of those infected—may have only very mild symptoms (if they have any at all), and therefore might not realize they have the disease. Still, they may be able to spread the virus to others.

How long after being infected do symptoms usually appear?: Symptoms can appear between 12 and 25 days after the initial infection, but usually people begin experiencing them 16 to 18 days after they are infected.

Read the full overview here

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