Harare issues alert for mumps
Harare (New Ziana)-Cases of mumps (mahumunya/amatitiyane), a contagious and infectious viral disease that causes swelling of the parotid salivary glands in the face, have been recorded in the capital, raising fears of an outbreak.
Mumps is an acute disease of children and young adults, and humans are the only known host for the virus, which is spread via direct contact or by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract of infected individuals, according to the World Health Organisation.
It is frequently reported in children aged 5-9 years of age, although both adolescents and adults may be affected.
After an incubation period of some 2 to 4 weeks mumps begins with non-specific symptoms such as myalgia, headache, malaise and low-grade fever. Within days, these symptoms are followed by unilateral or bilateral swelling of the parotid salivary glands, with other salivary glands affected in 10 percent of cases.
Harare City Health Department director, Dr. Prosper Chonzi on Monday issued a mumps alert, saying cases had been recorded in health centres and community schools.
“Harare Metropolitan province has reported mumps (mahumunya) cases in our health centres and community (schools). We therefore request through your wider networks to communicate with parents and guardians referencing this letter to mobilise them to bring forward all children and adults who get infected with mumps to visit their council health centres and cite this letter to their health care providers,” he said.
Signs and symptoms of mumps include swelling of salivary glands (areas on cheeks, under cheeks and below the cheeks) lasting more than two days without apparent cause.
Other signs include pain on chewing or swallowing, general body weakness, loss of appetite and swelling of testicles for boys.
According to the American Centre for Diseases Control (CDC), swelling usually peaks in 1 to 3 days and then subsides during the next week. The swollen tissue pushes the angle of the ear up and out.