Recently, a new mumps outbreak was reported after a person who attended a wedding was identified with the disease. The wedding attendee did not show any symptoms of the infection at that time. 62 further cases of mumps also identified linked to the same patient. The report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the U.S Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on June 5, 2020.
Mumps is a viral disease which is preventable by a vaccine. However, 41 of the patients were already vaccinated for the disease. The outbreak started from a single individual who is a child caretaker from Nebraska. The mild illness converted into an outbreak spreading through six different states.
Mumps mainly infects children and younger people. It is a highly contagious infection that is caused due to a single serotype of paramyxovirus. It only infects humans as the only host. The mode of transmission of this virus is through tiny droplets from the mouth. The droplets which travel from the upper respiratory tract contain the viral load.
The incubation period of the mumps virus ranges from 12 to 25 days. During this period, the carrier might not show any symptoms of the disease. The initial symptoms of mumps include fever, body ache, congestion of the chest, and severe pain in the jaw.
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The primary case of the epidemic developed the symptoms of the disease 11 days after infection. She experienced swelling in her jaw as the first symptom of infection. She also experienced tenderness in her jaw and left the year on the next day of the wedding.
Most people recover from the infection within two weeks of infection. Although it is a mild disease, some people develop serious symptoms that result in encephalitis, deafness, or even infertility. It can also cause inflammation in the brain which may prove fatal. The disease is a vaccine-preventable disease but a large number of people recently infected with mumps received a vaccine for the disease.
The first licensed vaccine for mumps came in the market in 1967. However, the vaccine was available in only 122 countries until the end of 2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Until now, the mumps vaccine is not a part of national immunization projects of many countries including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, China. Also, most of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the South Asian countries do not have mumps vaccination program.
Previously, the mumps outbreak eradicated by isolating people and quarantining infected individuals. The latest pandemic also caused people across the globe to isolate themselves in their homes. The question arises if the people are ready for a new mumps outbreak amid another ongoing pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic halted several activities including the vaccination against mumps virus. The rate of many childhood vaccinations declined in the previous months due to coronavirus.
The new mumps outbreak highlights the importance of vaccination. The recent outbreak occurred in a majorly vaccinated population. Hence, we need more research on vaccines and develop more effective vaccines. Also, booster vaccines to increase the immunity against such outbreaks in the future should be available.