In a follow-up on the mumps outbreak in South Africa, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports from epidemiological week 01 in 2023 (ending 7 January 2023) to week 17 2023 (ending 26 April 2023), 1702 test results were available of which 580 mumps test positives were identified from eight provinces–Eastern Cape (9 (2%)), Free State (40 (7%)), Gauteng (64 (11%)), KwaZulu-Natal (280 (48%)), Limpopo (11 (2%)), Mpumalanga (97 (17%)), North West (57 (10%)) and Western Cape (22 (4%)).
The largest number of mumps test positives are amongst the 5-9 year age group (335 (58%)), followed by the 1-4 year age group (158 (27%)).
Mumps is an acute viral infection caused by the rubulavirus, also known as mumps virus. It is sometimes called ‘infectious parotitis’, as it causes painful swelling of the parotid and or salivary glands.
Mumps spreads from person to person via droplets of saliva or mucus of an infected person or sharing items that may have saliva on them, such as water bottles or cups.
Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, often referred to as parotitis.
Other symptoms that might begin a few days before parotitis include: Fever, Headache, Muscle aches, Tiredness and Loss of appetite.
Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12–25 days after infection.
Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold), or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the disease.
In rare cases, mumps can cause more severe complications, which can include:
- inflammation of the testicles (orchitis); this may lead to a decrease in testicular size (testicular atrophy)
- inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breast tissue (mastitis)
- inflammation in the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
Most people with mumps recover completely within two weeks.
Mumps vaccine is the best way to decrease your risk of getting mumps. It is usually given as part of a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR).