Mumps is a viral infection spread from one person to another by means of respiratory droplets or through direct contact with contaminated items. Most cases of mumps are common in children aged between two and twelve years who haven’t been vaccinated against the illness. Nonetheless, the infection can affect anyone. The time interval between getting exposed to the virus and becoming sick is usually between 12 and 24 days. Apart from attacking the face, mumps might also infect the pancreas and central nervous system (CNS).
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms accompanying mumps typically manifest after two or three weeks of incubation and often mimic the symptoms of flu. They include:
• Muscle aches
• Swelling of the parotid glands
Tests and Diagnosis
Tests are performed to:
- Diagnose active cases of mumps
- Confirm that the patient is immune to the mumps virus as a result of previous infections or MMR vaccinations
- Detect, track, and monitor epidemics for public health reasons
A few methods are available to help diagnose measles:
- Physical Examination: Your general practitioner can check the position of your tonsils in the mouth to see if there is an abnormality, as well as check your body temperature to see if it is higher than it should be. If your doctor suspects you are suffering from mumps, they should quickly inform your health protection unit. The HPU will then organize for saliva samples to be tested to endorse or rule out the prognosis.
- Antibody Testing or Serology: Antibody testing might be utilized to check immunity, diagnose an existent case, or track possible outbreaks. Mumps antibodies refer to virus-specific proteins released by the immune system infections caused by the mumps infections or MMR vaccinations. Sometimes, testing of 2 separate blood samples obtained on different weeks (convalescent and acute) are used to distinguish between active and prior infections by comparing the volume of antibodies in both samples.
- Direct Detection: This involves culturing the virus or molecular techniques like PCR which may be performed on several samples. These methods focus on identifying active infections and cannot necessarily confirm immunity.
- Viral Culture: Viral genetic testing detects and checks the genetic strains of the causative virus. Viral tests might occasionally be carried out to establish the underlying cause of complications that might be associated with infections caused by the mumps virus. Since individuals with weakened immunity systems might not possess a functional antibody response, viral cultures or genetic material tests might be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
Though viraemia is very common, the mumps virus isn’t often isolated from the blood. The inability to isolate the mumps virus in blood might be secondary to the coincidental presence of strong antibodies to the virus.
- Serum Amylase: The level of amylase enzyme might be elevated in mumps pancreatitis causing fever, abdominal pains, persistent vomiting, and chills. However, the tests are non-specific and additional tests may be performed to rule out other conditions.
- Polymerase chain reaction: This test enables a more rapid and precise diagnosis of mumps. Testing is performed directly on the salivary specimen. A reverse transcriptase assay utilizing a small gene portion can confirm mumps-related infections, establish specific viral strains, and boost epidemiological studies. RT-PCR has always been useful in differentiating discrete mumps strains linked to particular outbreaks. According to several studies, RT-PCR has proven to be more sensitive as compared to viral culture techniques.