In Mumbai, India, a mumps outbreak has struck economically disadvantaged areas, with Janta Nagar, a slum in Mankhurd, being heavily affected. The paramyxovirus, which causes the viral infection, has spread rapidly among residents, including children. Shakila Khatoon, a resident of Janta Nagar, shared her family’s harrowing experience, as both her daughter and son contracted the virus and suffered from hearing loss despite seeking medical treatment. The newly opened Mohalla clinic in Janta Nagar has seen a surge in mumps cases since October, indicating the severity of the outbreak. Pediatricians throughout Mumbai have also reported increased mumps cases in lower socio-economic areas. Unfortunately, mumps vaccination is not part of the free national immunization program, leaving vulnerable populations at risk. Healthcare professionals are now emphasizing the need for mumps to be included in the national vaccination strategy.
The mumps outbreak in Mumbai has not only led to the spread of the viral infection but has also resulted in a concerning rise in cases of hearing loss. Hospitals in the city have reported an increase in mumps-related hearing loss cases among both children and adults. KEM Hospital alone documented seven cases of mumps-related hearing loss in just one month. To address this issue, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is investigating the vaccination status of affected patients. Determining the vaccination status is crucial for implementing targeted interventions. Mumps can affect individuals of all ages, causing swelling of the parotid salivary glands and potentially leading to hearing loss. Early intervention is essential to prevent permanent hearing impairment.
Mumps is caused by a highly contagious paramyxovirus that spreads through infected saliva or respiratory droplets. The incubation period typically lasts between 16 to 18 days. The most common symptom is swelling of the parotid glands, accompanied by headache, joint pain, and fever. It is imperative to seek immediate medical attention if mumps is suspected, as it can be mistaken for other serious infections. While there is no specific treatment for mumps, managing the infection involves alleviating symptoms and ensuring adequate fluid intake.
The ongoing crisis in Mumbai underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive vaccination strategy that incorporates mumps into the national immunization program. Without mumps coverage, a significant portion of the population remains vulnerable to the virus, resulting in widespread outbreaks and severe consequences such as hearing loss. To address the immediate challenges posed by the mumps outbreak and prevent future occurrences, concerted efforts are required. This includes the inclusion of mumps in the national immunization program, increased awareness about mumps and its vaccination, and improved accessibility to vaccinations. Healthcare authorities, policymakers, and the community must unite to combat this health crisis and safeguard the population, particularly those in vulnerable socio-economic segments, from the devastating effects of mumps.