Protect your family from this contagious disease! Mumps cases are on the rise in South Africa, and everyone is at risk. Don’t let your loved ones suffer the painful symptoms or severe complications like sensorineural deafness. Act now!
👨⚕️ Dr. John Flett urges you to consult your local healthcare provider for advice on vaccination and follow good hygiene practices.
Mumps Outbreak Alert: What You Need to Know (11 May 2023)
Mumps, a contagious illness causing painful swelling in the glands near your ears, is usually a mild disease affecting children aged 5-9. However, people of any age can get infected, and having mumps once doesn’t guarantee immunity for life.
Until recently, mumps cases in South Africa were rare, but things have changed. Since February 2023, the NICD has been receiving numerous reports about possible mumps outbreaks in different provinces. An analysis of national laboratory test data confirmed an unexpected and sudden increase in mumps cases, primarily in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng.
Here’s what you need to know about the current mumps outbreak:
- Mumps is caused by a virus and spreads through coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces.
- Symptoms include headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, fever, earache, and swollen glands near the ears.
- Children aged 1-4 and 5-9 are the most affected, followed by the 30-34 and 10-14 age groups.
- There is no specific treatment for mumps, so rest, fluids, and pain relief are recommended.
To help control the outbreak, some countries may advise extra doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine for at-risk groups, including those in close contact with infected individuals. The MMR vaccine is not universally available in South Africa, so it’s essential to consult your local healthcare provider for advice.
Stay informed and follow preventative measures to protect yourself and your loved ones during this mumps outbreak.
Mumps Explained in Simple Terms
- What is mumps?
Mumps is a contagious illness caused by a virus. It often leads to painful swelling in the glands around your cheeks, close to your ears.
- How does mumps spread?
Mumps spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes, releasing tiny droplets of saliva or mucus into the air. You can also get mumps if you touch a surface that has the virus on it. Symptoms usually show up about 16-18 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus. People with mumps can spread the virus to others from up to seven days before until five days after the swelling starts.
- What are the signs and symptoms of mumps?
At first, mumps can cause a headache, feeling tired, not wanting to eat, and a fever. Then you might get an earache, and the glands around your cheeks may become swollen and painful. The swelling usually lasts for about a week. Some people might have more serious problems, like meningitis or inflammation of the ovaries or testicles.
- Who can get mumps?
Mumps mostly affects children between 5-9 years old, but anyone can get it. If you’ve had mumps before, you’re usually protected from getting it again, but it can sometimes come back.
- How can I prevent mumps?
There’s a vaccine called MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) that can protect you from getting mumps. It’s not part of the regular vaccination program in South Africa, so you have to get it from a private doctor. Kids should get their first dose when they’re 12-15 months old and a second dose when they’re 4-6 years old.
- What should I do if I’ve been exposed to mumps?
If you haven’t been vaccinated and you’ve never had mumps, you could get sick if you’ve been exposed to the virus. There’s no treatment to prevent the infection after exposure.
- How do doctors diagnose mumps?
Doctors can usually tell if you have mumps by looking at your symptoms. They might also do some blood tests or other lab tests to confirm it.
- How is mumps treated?
There’s no cure for mumps. The only treatment is to rest, drink fluids, and take medicine for pain and fever.
- Where can I find more information?
You can visit websites like the World Health Organization (www.who.int), the Immunization Action Coalition (www.immunize.org), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov/vaccine/pubs/surv-manual/chpt09-mumps.html) for more information about mumps.