Mumps (mumps) , commonly referred to as mumps, is an acute infectious viral disease that belongs to the same group of childhood infections as measles, chickenpox, or rubella.
The peculiarity of mumps is that it affects, first of all, the glandular tissue of the body. Therefore, characteristic manifestations of mumps are inflammatory processes of the glands: inflammation within the ear salivary glands, sometimes also salivary glands under the tongue and at the lower jaw, and in rare cases, the pancreas.
Mumps most often affects children between 30% and the seventh year of life, with mumps affecting boys twice as often as girls.
The causative agent of mumps is the mumps virus, which is part of the same group of viruses as the measles virus.
The mumps virus is not subject to mutations, it is unstable in the external environment: when heated to 70 degrees, it is inactivated in 10 minutes, and quickly dies under ultraviolet irradiation, exposure to disinfectants.
However, at low temperatures (-10-70 degrees), the mumps virus can retain its properties for a long time.
The mumps virus is transmitted, as a rule, by airborne droplets, but intrauterine infection is also likely (though not often), as well as contact infection through objects contaminated with the saliva of the sick person, for example, children’s toys or household items.
It should be remembered that a patient with mumps is contagious in the last days of the incubation period, and 9–11 days after the onset of the acute stage of the disease. The greatest risk of infection through contact with a sick mumps appears from 30% to the fifth day after the onset of the first symptoms of mumps.
Mumps, like all “childhood” infections, is a contagious disease, that is, contagious. Susceptibility to the mumps virus is slightly lower than susceptibility to measles or chickenpox viruses, but still quite high, it is within 50%. True, mumps is more common among pregnant women than measles, accounting for 0.8-10 cases per 10,000.
Children are more likely to get sick – 90% of cases of mumps are recorded in children under 15 years of age. At the same time, boys get sick almost twice as often as girls, the same ratio is preserved in adult men and women.
As for parotitis in adults, it is traditionally more severe than in babies, and with a greater likelihood of complications.
Complications of mumps can include diseases such as orchitis (inflammation of the testicles in boys and adult men), oophoritis (inflammation of the ovaries in girls and adult women), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the pia mater and brain), hearing loss and deafness.
In the development of complications, the weakening of the body’s defenses also plays a role, as well as the state of the organs and systems themselves, which are affected by the mumps virus. Parotitis is especially dangerous for teenage boys during puberty, since in this case there is a risk of inflammation of the ovary or testicle. Every tenth of the boys affected by this disease becomes infertile. Therefore, for boys who have not yet had mumps by the time of puberty, vaccination against mumps is especially important.
Mumps is characterized by seasonal ups and downs in the incidence. The maximum incidence occurs in March-April, and the minimum – in August-September. Periodic rises in the incidence of parotitis are observed after 1-2 years.
Sometimes parotitis occurs in the form of epidemic outbreaks, which is especially typical for children’s institutions. Such outbreaks of mumps last, as a rule, from 70 to 110 days, passing in the form of 4-5 waves, the intervals between which are approximately equal to the incubation period of mumps.
Epidemic parotitis is a disease that occurs worldwide. Of course, with the introduction of vaccination in many countries of the world, the incidence of mumps has decreased significantly.
After a mumps disease of any severity, persistent immunity to re-infection develops – lifelong immunity. Immunity to mumps is found in 80-90% of the adult population, which indicates how widespread mumps is. Moreover, the presence of antibodies to parotitis does not depend on whether a person had acute parotitis: in 25% of infected parotitis, parotitis is asymptomatic and unnoticed by the sick person and his relatives.