Srinagar- Mumps, a highly contagious and painful viral infection caused by Mumps Virus (MuV) is quite common in Kashmir these days, with the majority of patients unaware of what they are actually suffering from.
According to healthcare practitioners, the paramyxovirus, a frequent source of infection conveyed by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract, is the root cause of contagion. Fever, headache, muscular pains, fatigue, and appetite loss, they said, usually appear a few days after the condition begins.
The disease, the doctors said, is serious and can take the symptoms including parotid or salivary gland discomfort, trouble chewing, neck ache, testicular pain and tenderness, fever, headache, muscular pains, and fatigue two to three weeks to manifest after contracting the virus.
“Mumps may spread easily when an infected person sneezes, coughs, speaks, or laughs. The virus spreads by microscopic droplets of fluid. It can also spread through contact with items people use, such as straws, drinking glasses, and soiled tissues,” Dr. Nisar-ul-Hassan, renowned influenza expert told Kashmir Observer.
“Mumps is contagious. If people don’t wash their hands, whatever they touch might potentially transfer the virus to others,” he added.
Mumps, Dr Nisar said is the virus that spreads by direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected individual and replicates in the upper respiratory tract.
He went on to say that the likelihood of someone getting the mumps increases with the length and proximity of their interaction with an infected individual.
“There is a chance of community spread if preventive measures are not implemented promptly. The symptoms of the two contagious diseases including Covid-19 and the Mumps, are similar, however swollen glands are the hallmark of Mumps caused by MuV,” said Dr Nisar, who is also the President of Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK)
He said that a patient testing positive for the virus must go for self isolation for at least three to five days to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease to other families and communities.
“Since there are many symptoms that are similar to the Covid-19 and Mumps, it is vital that people get vaccinated against both viruses. These both might become epidemics and spread throughout communities,” he added.
When asked how a patient can find if he is infected with Mumps, Dr Nisar said that blood tests and buccal swabs, which involve taking a sample of cells from inside the mouth or nose painlessly, can confirm a positive result.
The DAK president said the recommended course of treatment for Mumps includes, drinking lots of fluids, avoiding sour or acidic beverages like, orange juice and lemonade, gargling with warm salt water to relieve sore throat.
“In order to relieve discomfort and reduce swelling, he said applying hot, wet substances to the afflicted organs—such as the cheeks and jaws—are strongly advised. The most effective treatment for reducing cheek and throat edema is fomentation.” he said.
Dr. Nisar also cautioned patients with mumps against poultry and red meat consumption since they are hard foods that strain the jaw and cause discomfort.
“Consume soft diet that doesn’t need chewing such as bananas, soups, oatmeal, and pasta. It is recommended to stay away from citrus fruits and spicy foods as they might exacerbate pain by inducing the glands to produce more saliva. Steer clear of fatty and difficult-to-digest items, such red meat and processed foods,” he suggested.
He advised the patient to stay away from work or school for a few days following the onset of symptoms, often wash hands with soap and throw away tissues when sneezing.
Leading Pulmonologist and Head of the Department at Chest Diseases Hospital Srinagar, Dr Naveed Nazir Shah said the initial symptoms of Mumps are non specific which includes fever, headache, malaise, muscle pain and loss of appetite.
“These symptoms are followed by painful swelling of the parotid glands, called parotitis, which are the most common symptoms of the Mumps. Symptoms typically occur after two weeks of exposure to the virus and resolve within two weeks,” Dr Naveed told Kashmir Observer, adding about 1/3rd of patients with Mumps are asymptomatic.
He said the Mumps virus complications are rare, but if ignored, they can result in deafness and a variety of inflammatory disorders, the most prevalent of which are inflammation of the tentacles’, breasts, ovaries, pancreas, meninges, and brain.
“Mumps is transmitted by exposure to someone having already contracted the virus. It is primarily transmitted by respiratory secretions, such as droplets and direct contact with an infected person. Mumps is highly contagious and spreads easily in densely populated settings. The transmission can occur from one week before the onset of symptoms to eight days after contracting the virus,” he added.
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