The Erongo regional health directorate on Friday issued a warning of a suspected outbreak of mumps in the Swakopmund district.
In an internal memo, the chief medical officer of the Erongo region, Dr Leonard Kabongo, said 26 suspected cases were reported in the Swakopmund district as of 9 September – 20 at Swakopmund and three cases each at Arandis and Henties Bay.
“Samples were taken from 11 cases and the district is awaiting the results. An outbreak will be confirmed if three or more cases test positive,” said Kabongo.
Mumps is an acute viral illness caused by a paramyxovirus that typically presents as swelling of the parotid or other salivary glands.
The illness lasts about three to seven days and those infected usually recover after two weeks. Symptoms of the disease include puffy cheeks, tender swollen jaws because of swollen salivary glands, fever, headache, muscle ache, tiredness and a loss of appetite.
These symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, Kabongo said.
The disease spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose, or throat and an infected person can pass it through coughing, sneezing, talking, sharing items that may have saliva on them, and kissing.