Mumps Outbreak in Rajasthan: Medical Experts' Insights and Safety Tips for Residents

Six individuals, including children, have already experienced irreversible hearing impairment due to mumps infection in the state in the past few weeks.
Mumps Outbreak in Rajasthan: Medical Experts' Insights and Safety Tips for Residents

Jaipur- As Rajasthan transitions from winter to summer, a surge in mumps cases has emerged, raising concerns among health authorities. The sudden onset of warmer weather coupled with viral activity has led to a spike in mumps infections across the state. Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It can cause painful swelling in the parotid salivary glands (parotitis). 

With symptoms often initially mild, the disease poses a significant threat, especially to children whose immune systems may be more vulnerable. The Medical and Health Department has issued directives to combat the spread of the disease, urging vigilance and prompt treatment.

Mumps most commonly affects children between the ages of 2 to 12 who haven’t received the mumps vaccine. However, adolescents and adults can get mumps despite being vaccinated against it. This occurs because there’s waning immunity of the vaccine after several years. Still, the best way to protect against mumps infection is to be fully vaccinated.

In a worrying development, Rajasthan has witnessed a significant increase in mumps cases, particularly in the capital city of Jaipur.

Dr. Mohnish Grover, a senior doctor at SMS Hospital Jaipur, says the mumps virus spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. He advises isolating infected patients from their families to stop the virus from spreading. Many people with mumps are going to Jaipur Sawai Mansingh Hospital, JK Lone Hospital, and private hospitals every day. Dr. Grover says that in the past, only a few mumps cases were seen, but now more than 50 cases are reported each month, mostly among children.

Meanwhile, in Udaipur, on a single day this Tuesday, 22 new cases were identified, highlighting the rapid spread of the virus. Health facilities, both public and private, are reporting a surge in patients presenting with symptoms of mumps, indicating a concerning escalation of the outbreak.

Doctors explain that when someone first gets mumps, they might have mild symptoms like a slight fever, feeling tired, headache, and not feeling hungry. Usually, they go to the general medicine department first, where they receive medications to help with viral infections.

But if the symptoms don't get better after three to four days, the person might start feeling pain and swelling in their cheeks and jaw on both sides. In that case, they need to visit the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) department for further evaluation and treatment.

Beyond its immediate symptoms, mumps can have severe consequences, including permanent hearing loss. In Rajasthan, six individuals, including children, have already experienced irreversible hearing impairment due to mumps infection. Additionally, the virus can lead to complications affecting vital organs such as the brain, kidneys, and heart, underscoring the urgency of timely intervention and treatment.

" Mumps, more prevalent in children with low immunity, presents with initial symptoms of mild fever, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite. However, timely treatment coupled with adequate hydration and soft foods can alleviate symptoms within 8 to 10 days" Dr Swati, a community medicine professional said.

Symptoms and Challenges:

The Mooknayak spoke to Udaipur CMHO Dr Ashok Aditya who shared insights on the disease. The medical officer said ," Mumps, characterized by fever, swelling of the salivary glands, and other flu-like symptoms, poses a double challenge for patients. Initial manifestations such as mild fever and fatigue may lead individuals to seek treatment in the general medicine department. However, if symptoms persist or worsen, patients often require specialized care from the Ear, Nose, and Throat department, where swelling and pain around the cheeks and jaw become prominent."

Despite the availability of a vaccine to prevent mumps, its exclusion from routine childhood vaccinations has contributed to the current outbreak.The cornerstone of mumps prevention lies in childhood vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).

Administered between the ages of eight to fourteen months and again between four to five years, the MMR vaccine confers robust immunity against these infectious diseases, including mumps.

However, a decline in vaccination rates has been identified as a primary driver behind the recent uptick in mumps cases, highlighting the urgent need for revitalizing vaccination efforts. While private hospitals offer vaccinations at a cost, accessibility remains a challenge, especially for marginalized communities who rely on government healthcare facilities.

The Indian Academy of Pediatrics has called for the inclusion of mumps vaccination in the national immunization program to address this gap.

Dr. RL Suman, the superintendent of MB Hospital Udaipur, acknowledges a surge in mumps patients at the civil hospital. Despite this, he remains optimistic and points out that 95 percent of the patients recover with just one round of treatment. However, in some instances, additional diagnosis or care may be necessary to address serious complications. Dr. Suman advises people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus and suggests avoiding consumption of frozen and cold foods to mitigate the risk of infection.

Managing Mumps Symptoms

  1. Drink plenty of fluids.

  2. Gargle warm salt water.

  3. Eat soft, easy-to-chew foods.

  4. Avoid acidic foods that make your mouth water.

  5. Suck on an ice pop to soothe a sore throat.

  6. Place ice or heat packs on swollen glands.

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