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Mumps Outbreak in Kerala: 190 Cases Reported in a Day

mumps

Kerala, the picturesque southern state of India, is grappling with a sudden surge in mumps cases. On a single day, 190 new cases were reported, raising alarm bells among health authorities. The outbreak has primarily affected Malappuram district and other parts of north Kerala. According to data from the Kerala Health Department, the total number of mumps infections this month has reached 2,505, and over the past two months, it has soared to 11,467 cases.

Symptoms of Mumps

Mumps is a contagious viral infection caused by the paramyxovirus. It spreads through direct contact or airborne droplets from an infected person’s upper respiratory tract. Here are the typical symptoms:

  1. Pain, Tenderness, and Swelling: The hallmark indication of mumps is the enlargement of the salivary glands, particularly those located in the cheek and jaw area. Most commonly, the parotid salivary glands are affected.
  2. Fever and Headache: Symptoms usually appear within two to four weeks after exposure. The initial signs include mild fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue.
  3. Swelling Peaks: Swelling in the affected glands typically reaches its peak within one to three days and gradually subsides over the following week. The angle of the jawbone beneath the ear may become obscured due to the swelling.
  4. Difficulty Swallowing and Opening the Mouth: As the condition progresses, the parotid gland may swell to the point where the jawbone cannot be felt. Some individuals may experience difficulty swallowing food or opening their mouths.
  5. Other Salivary Glands: Although less common, swelling may also occur in other salivary glands, such as the submandibular and sublingual glands beneath the mouth’s floor.
  6. Prodromal Symptoms: Prior to the onset of parotitis (swelling of the salivary glands), individuals may experience nonspecific prodromal symptoms several days in advance. These include muscle pain, loss of appetite, general discomfort, and headaches.
  7. Vaccine Availability: While a vaccine against mumps exists (combined with measles and rubella as the MMR vaccine), it is not part of the government’s universal immunization program. Children can receive the MMR vaccine at private centers3.

Alert and Vigilant

Authorities from the Union Health Ministry have acknowledged the outbreak and have notified the National Centre for Disease Control in Kerala. Vigilance and timely intervention are crucial to containing the spread of mumps. Public health experts emphasize the importance of vaccination and awareness to prevent further cases.

As Kerala battles this mumps outbreak, health officials are closely monitoring the situation and implementing necessary measures to safeguard public health. If you experience any symptoms or suspect mumps infection, seek medical attention promptly.

How to Prevent Mumps

While there’s no specific treatment for mumps, vaccination is the most effective way to prevent infection. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine offers protection against all three diseases. Though not part of the current government immunization program, children can receive the MMR vaccine at private healthcare centers.

If you suspect mumps, consult a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and receive supportive care to manage symptoms. Public health experts recommend staying home during the infectious period to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Kerala’s health department is likely taking steps to contain the outbreak. Here are some additional tips that might be included in their recommendations:

  • Frequent handwashing and maintaining good respiratory hygiene (covering coughs and sneezes) are crucial to prevent the spread of mumps.
  • If you’re experiencing symptoms, isolate yourself from others and avoid close contact.

For more information on mumps and the ongoing outbreak in Kerala, consult reliable health sources or reach out to your local healthcare provider.

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