What is mumps?

Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus that typically leads to painful swelling of the salivary glands in front of and below the ears. Mumps typically occurs in children between the ages of two and 12 years who were not vaccinated against mumps. Mumps may also cause flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, and aches and pains; and these symptoms typically develop first, before salivary gland swelling is apparent. The salivary gland swelling may be minor or not even noticeable in some cases, and it can occur on one or both sides of the face.

Infections are spread from one person to another through droplets of mucus or saliva. The symptoms develop at any time from 12 to 25 days following infection. Mumps is very contagious, and those who are affected should be isolated for five days after the appearance of salivary gland swelling. Sometimes, it is possible to be infected with the mumps virus without having any symptoms.

Since the mumps vaccine was introduced in the 1960s, the infection is no longer common in the United States. Still, mumps is painful and can lead to serious complications such as deafness and, rarely, to fertility problems in males, so prevention is very important.

In some cases, mumps can be a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting.Seek immediate medical care (call 911)if you, or your child, have any of these serious symptoms, including persistent drowsiness, persistent vomiting or abdominal pain, severe headache, or testicle pain or lump.


What are the symptoms of mumps?

The classic sign of mumps is the swelling of the salivary glands, which is often accompanied by flu-like symptoms that usually start before the facial swelling is apparent.

Common symptoms of mumps

The common symptoms of mumps include the following:

  • Facial pain Read more about mumpssymptoms


What causes mumps?

Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus that is transmitted by droplets of mucus or saliva from an infected person. The virus that causes mumps is a member of the paramyxovirus family, the same family that includes the measles virus. People may catch mumps by breathing the same air or having close contact with a person who is infected. You can also catch mumps by touching household ite... Read more about mumpscauses


How is mumps treated?

Mumps typically resolves on its own without the need for specific treatment. Although there are no medications to cure mumps, you can take self-care measures to help relieve symptoms and improve prognosis for recovery.

Pain-relieving medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen... Read more about mumpstreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases

Popular Infections and Contagious Diseases Slide Shows