Mumps Outbreak Reported in Kerala: What You Need to Know


Hey there! You might have heard about a recent outbreak of mumps in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It’s been causing quite a stir, with over 15,000 cases reported in just the last couple of months.


But don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you in simple terms and help you understand what’s going on.

Mumps Outbreak Reported in Kerala

Mumps Outbreak Reported in Kerala


What Exactly is Mumps?

First off, let’s talk about what mumps is. It’s a contagious viral disease that mainly affects the salivary glands. These are the glands near your ears that make saliva. When you get mumps, these glands can swell up and make your cheeks look puffy and your jaw feel sore.

Mumps is caused by a virus and it spreads easily from person to person, usually through:

  • Saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat.
  • Coughing or sneezing.
  • Touching objects or surfaces with the virus on them and then touching your nose or mouth.

Mumps typically affects children between 2 and 12 years old who haven’t gotten the mumps vaccine. In adults, it can happen if their immunity from childhood vaccines has worn off over time.

What are the Symptoms of Mumps?

So how do you know if you or your child might have mumps? Here are some of the main symptoms to watch out for:

Symptom Description
Swollen salivary glands Puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw on one or both sides
Fever Body temperature above 100.4°F (38°C)
Headache Pain or discomfort in the head
Fatigue Feeling very tired and weak
Muscle aches Pain in the muscles
Loss of appetite Not wanting to eat

These symptoms usually show up about 2 to 3 weeks after being exposed to the virus. Some people with mumps, especially adults, may not have any symptoms at all.

Is Mumps Dangerous? What are the Possible Complications?

For most people, mumps is a mild illness that goes away on its own in about 2 weeks with rest and some simple treatments at home (more on that later). But in some cases, mumps can lead to more serious complications like:

  • Meningitis (swelling of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord).
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain).
  • Hearing loss.
  • Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas).
  • Orchitis (swelling of the testicles in males who have reached puberty).
  • Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries in females who have reached puberty).

These complications are rare, but they can be quite serious. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor if you think you or your child might have mumps, especially if symptoms are severe or don’t seem to be getting better.


How is Mumps Treated?

There’s no specific medicine that can cure mumps, but there are things you can do to help relieve symptoms and feel more comfortable while your body fights off the virus:

  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and discomfort.
  • Apply cold or heat packs to swollen glands.
  • Eat soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.

If complications occur, additional treatments may be needed. For example, meningitis or encephalitis may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids or medications.

How Can Mumps Be Prevented?

The best way to prevent mumps is through vaccination. The mumps vaccine is usually given as part of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

In India, the MMR vaccine was introduced into the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) in a phased manner starting in 2017.

It replaced the two doses of measles vaccine that were previously given.


The MMR vaccine is given in two doses:

  • First dose at 9-12 months of age
  • Second dose at 16-24 months of age

The vaccine is very effective at preventing mumps. According to the CDC, two doses of MMR vaccine are about 88% effective at preventing the disease.

If you’re not sure if you or your child has received the MMR vaccine, check with your doctor.

They can look at your immunization records and let you know if you need to get caught up on any shots.

In addition to vaccination, there are some other things you can do to help prevent the spread of mumps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Don’t share cups, utensils, or other items that touch your mouth
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Stay home from work, school, or childcare if you’re sick

If someone in your household has mumps, try to keep them isolated from others as much as possible to prevent the virus from spreading. This means keeping them in a separate room and avoiding close contact until at least 5 days after their salivary glands first started swelling.

What’s Being Done About the Mumps Outbreak in Kerala?

The recent mumps outbreak in Kerala has health officials on high alert. The state government has asked the central government to replace the MR (measles-rubella) vaccine given in the UIP with the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine to help combat the outbreak.

In the meantime, efforts are being made to:

  • Raise public awareness about the importance of vaccination and good hygiene practices
  • Strengthen surveillance and reporting of mumps cases
  • Provide appropriate medical care and follow-up for those affected
  • Limit the spread of the disease through the isolation of infected individuals

It’s a challenging situation, but health authorities are working hard to get the outbreak under control and protect public health.


  • Q: Can you get mumps more than once?

A: It’s possible, but very rare. Most people who have had mumps are immune for life and won’t get it again.

  • Q: Is mumps contagious?

A: Yes, mumps is highly contagious and spreads easily from person to person through respiratory droplets or contact with contaminated objects.

  • Q: How long does it take for mumps symptoms to appear?

A: The incubation period for mumps (the time from exposure to the virus to when symptoms first appear) is usually 16-18 days, but can range from 12-25 days.

  • Q: Can adults get mumps?

A: Yes, anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated or who has had their immunity wear off over time can get mumps, including adults.

  • Q: Is there a treatment for mumps?

A: There’s no specific treatment for mumps, but symptoms can be managed with rest, fluids, pain relievers, and other supportive care measures. Complications may require additional medical treatment.

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Mumps may not be as well-known as some other childhood illnesses, but it can still pack a punch. The recent outbreak in Kerala is a reminder of how easily this virus can spread and the importance of vaccination in preventing it.

While most people recover from mumps without any lasting problems, the potential complications can be serious. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you and your loved ones are up-to-date on your MMR shots and to practice good hygiene habits like handwashing.

If you think you or someone in your family might have mumps, don’t hesitate to see a doctor. With prompt care and attention, most people with mumps do just fine.


By working together and following the advice of health experts, we can hopefully get this outbreak under control soon and protect the health of communities across Kerala and beyond. Stay safe out there!