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For other uses of the word Mumps or MUMPS, see Mumps (disambiguation).
Classification and external resources
Mumps PHIL 130 lores.jpg
Child with mumps
eMedicineemerg/324 emerg/391 ped/1503
Patient UKMumps

Mumps (epidemic parotitis) is a viral disease of the human species, caused by the mumps virus. Before the development of vaccination and the introduction of a vaccine, it was a common childhood disease worldwide. It is still a significant threat to health in developing countries and outbreaks still occur sporadically in developed countries.[1]

Painful swelling of the salivary glands – classically the parotid gland – is the most typical presentation.[2] Painful testicular swelling (orchitis) and rash may also occur. The symptoms are generally not severe in children. In teenage males and men, complications such as infertility or subfertility are more common, although still rare in absolute terms.[3][4][5] The disease is generally self-limiting, running its course before receding, with no specific treatment apart from controlling the symptoms with pain medication.

Fever and headache are prodromal symptoms of mumps, together with malaise and anorexia. Other symptoms of mumps can include dry mouth, sore face and/or ears and occasionally in more serious cases, loss of voice. In addition, up to 20% of persons infected with the mumps virus do not show symptoms, so it is possible to be infected and spread the virus without knowing it.[6]

Males past puberty who develop mumps have a 15–20 percent risk of orchitis,[7] painful inflammation of the testicles.[8]


Mumps is a contagious disease that is spread from person to person through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva from an infected person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets aerosolize and can enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person. Mumps can also be spread by sharing food and drinks. The virus can also survive on surfaces and then be spread after contact in a similar manner.

A person infected with mumps is contagious from approximately 6 days before the onset of symptoms until about 9 days after symptoms start.[9][10] The incubation period (time until symptoms begin) can be from 14–25 days, but is typically 16–18 days.[11]


A physical examination confirms the presence of the swollen glands. Usually, the disease is diagnosed on clinical grounds, and no confirmatory laboratory testing is needed. If there is uncertainty about the diagnosis, a test of saliva or blood may be carried out; a newer diagnostic confirmation, using real-time nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, has also been developed.[12] An estimated 20%-30% of cases are asymptomatic.[13] As with any inflammation of the salivary glands, serum amylase is often elevated.[14][15]


The most common preventative measure against mumps is a vaccination with a mumps vaccine, invented by American microbiologist Maurice Hilleman at Merck.[16] The vaccine may be given separately or as part of the MMR immunization vaccine that also protects against measles and rubella. In the US, MMR is now being supplanted by MMRV, which adds protection against chickenpox. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends the use of mumps vaccines in all countries with well-functioning childhood vaccination programmes. In the United Kingdom it is routinely given to children at age 13 months with a booster at 3–5 years (preschool) This confers lifelong immunity. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the routine administration of MMR vaccine at ages 12–15 months and at 4–6 years.[17] In some locations, the vaccine is given again between 4 to 6 years of age, or between 11 and 12 years of age if not previously given. The efficacy of the vaccine depends on the strain of the vaccine, but is usually around 80%.[18][19] The Jeryl Lynn strain is most commonly used in developed countries but has been shown to have reduced efficacy in epidemic situations. The Leningrad-Zagreb strain commonly used in developing countries appears to have superior efficacy in epidemic situations.[20]

Because of the outbreaks within college and university settings, many governments have established vaccination programs to prevent large-scale outbreaks. In Canada, provincial governments and the Public Health Agency of Canada have all participated in awareness campaigns to encourage students ranging from grade 1 to college and university to get vaccinated.[21]

Some anti-vaccine activists protest against the administration of a vaccine against mumps, claiming that the attenuated vaccine strain is harmful, and/or that the wild disease is beneficial. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that the wild disease is beneficial, or that the MMR vaccine is harmful. Claims have been made that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism and inflammatory bowel disease, including one study by Andrew Wakefield[22][23] (the paper was discredited and retracted in 2010 and Wakefield was later stripped of his license after his work was found to be an "elaborate fraud" [24]) that indicated a link between gastrointestinal disease, autism, and the MMR vaccine. Also, subsequent studies indicate no link between vaccination with the MMR and autism.[25] Since the dangers of the disease are well known, and the dangers of the vaccine are quite minimal, most doctors recommend vaccination.

The WHO, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain currently recommend routine vaccination of children against mumps. The British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain had previously recommended against general mumps vaccination, changing that recommendation in 1987. In 1988 it became United Kingdom government policy to introduce mass child mumps vaccination programmes with the MMR vaccine, and MMR vaccine is now routinely administered in the UK.[citation needed]

Before the introduction of the mumps vaccine, the mumps virus was the leading cause of viral meningoencephalitis in the United States. However, encephalitis occurs rarely (less than 2 per 100,000).[26] In one of the largest studies in the literature, the most common symptoms of mumps meningoencephalitis were found to be fever (97%), vomiting (94%) and headache (88.8%).[27] The mumps vaccine was introduced into the United States in December 1967: since its introduction there has been a steady decrease in the incidence of mumps and mumps virus infection. There were 151,209 cases of mumps reported in 1968. Since 2001, the case average was only 265 per year, excluding an outbreak of >6000 cases in 2006 attributed largely to university contagion in young adults.[28][29]


There is no specific treatment for mumps. Symptoms may be relieved by the application of intermittent ice or heat to the affected neck/testicular area and by acetaminophen/paracetamol for pain relief. Warm saltwater gargles, soft foods, and extra fluids may also help relieve symptoms. Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is not used due to the risk of Reye's syndrome.

According to the Department of Health of Minnesota there is no effective post-exposure recommendation to prevent secondary transmission, nor is the post-exposure use of vaccine or immunoglobulin effective.[30]

Patients are advised to avoid acidic foods and beverages, since these stimulate the salivary glands, which can be painful.[31]


Death is very unusual. The disease is self-limiting, and general outcome is good, even if other organs are involved. Known complications of mumps include:

After the illness, lifelong immunity to mumps generally occurs; reinfection is possible but tends to be mild and atypical.[32]




  1. ^ Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, Isselbacher KJ, Eds. (2004). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (16th ed.). McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0-07-140235-7. 
  2. ^ Hviid A, Rubin S, Mühlemann K (March 2008). "Mumps". The Lancet 371 (9616): 932–44. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60419-5. PMID 18342688. 
  3. ^ Preveden T, Jovanović J, Ristić D (1996). "(title in Croatian)" [Fertility in men after mumps infection without manifestations of orchitis]. Med Pregl (in Croatian) 49 (3–4): 99–102. PMID 8692089. 
  4. ^ Shakhov EV, Krupin VN (1990). "(title in Russian)" [The clinico-statistical characteristics of the testicular generative function in male subfertility following mumps]. Urol Nefrol (Mosk) (in Russian) (2): 46–50. PMID 2368216. 
  5. ^ Tsvetkov D (1990). "(title in Bulgarian)" [Spermatological disorders in patients with postmumps orchitis]. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) (in Bulgarian) 29 (6): 46–9. PMID 2100952. 
  6. ^ FAQ For Young Adults, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, December 2008, Could I be infected with mumps without knowing it?, archived from the original on April 26, 2009 
  7. ^ Abram Katz (April 30, 2006), "Spread of Mumps Could Be Stopped with Immunizations" (Health Center Today News Archive), New Haven Register (reprint) (University of Connecticutt Health Center), retrieved February 22, 2013 
  8. ^ Manson AL (1990). "Mumps orchitis". Urology 36 (4): 355–8. doi:10.1016/0090-4295(90)80248-L. PMID 2219620. 
  9. ^ "Mumps - Symptoms", NHS Choices (England: National Health Service), January 11, 2011 
  10. ^ Letter:Compliance with Exclusion Requirements to Prevent Mumps Transmission, By Stephanie M. Borchardt, Preethi Rao, and Mark S. Dworkin, Volume 13, Number 10–October 2007
  11. ^ Conly J, Johnston B (January 2007). "Is mumps making a comeback?". Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 18 (1): 7–9. PMC 2542890. PMID 18923686. 
  12. ^ Krause CH, Eastick K, Ogilvie MM (November 2006). "Real-time PCR for mumps diagnosis on clinical specimens--comparison with results of conventional methods of virus detection and nested PCR". J. Clin. Virol. 37 (3): 184–9. doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2006.07.009. PMID 16971175. 
  13. ^ "Mumps epidemic--Iowa, 2006". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) 55 (13): 366–8. April 2006. PMID 16601665. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  14. ^ Amylase: The Test, Lab Tests Online UK
  15. ^ Skrha J, Stĕpán J, Sixtová E (October 1979). "Amylase isoenzymes in mumps". Eur. J. Pediatr. 132 (2): 99–105. doi:10.1007/BF00447376. PMID 499265. 
  16. ^ Offit PA (2007). Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases. Washington, DC: Smithsonian. ISBN 0-06-122796-X. 
  17. ^ MMR Vaccine (PDF), Vaccine Information Statement, United States: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 20, 2012, p. 1, retrieved February 22, 2013 
  18. ^ Schlegel M, Osterwalder JJ, Galeazzi RL, Vernazza PL (1999). "Comparative efficacy of three mumps vaccines during disease outbreak in eastern Switzerland: cohort study". BMJ 319 (7206): 352. doi:10.1136/bmj.319.7206.352. PMC 32261. PMID 10435956. 
  19. ^ "Summary". WHO: Mumps vaccine. Retrieved 2006-04-18. 
  20. ^ Peltola H, Kulkarni PS, Kapre SV, Paunio M, Jadhav SS, Dhere RM (August 2007). "Mumps outbreaks in Canada and the United States: time for new thinking on mumps vaccines". Clin. Infect. Dis. 45 (4): 459–66. doi:10.1086/520028. PMID 17638194. 
  21. ^ Table 2: Provincial and Territorial recommendations for mumps-containing immunization, 2007, Information on Outbreaks of Mumps In Canada - Information for Health Professionals, Public Health Agency Canada
  22. ^ "Critical flaws" in Andrew Wakefield's studies
  23. ^ Andrew Wakefield's downfall
  24. ^ Cohen, Elizabeth;Falco, Miriam (5 January 2011). "Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds". CNN. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  25. ^ Demicheli V, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C (2012). "Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children". Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2: CD004407. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004407.pub3. PMID 22336803. 
  26. ^ Atkinson W, Humiston S, Wolfe C, Nelson R (Editors). (2006). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (9th ed.). Centers for Disease Control and prevention. Fulltext. 
  27. ^ Kanra G, Isik P, Kara A, Cengiz AB, Seçmeer G, Ceyhan M (2004). "Complementary findings in clinical and epidemiologic features of mumps and mumps meningoencephalitis in children without mumps vaccination". Pediatr Int 46 (6): 663–8. doi:10.1111/j.1442-200x.2004.01968.x. PMID 15660864. 
  28. ^ McNabb SJ, Jajosky RA, Hall-Baker PA, Adams DA, Sharp P, Worshams C, Anderson WJ, Javier AJ, Jones GJ, Nitschke DA, Rey A, Wodajo MS (March 2008). "Summary of notifiable diseases--United States, 2006". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 55 (53): 1–92. PMID 18354375. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  29. ^ Susan Brink (April 14, 2008), "Mumps despite shots", Los Angeles Times, retrieved February 22, 2013 
  30. ^ "Mumps Clinical Information - Minnesota Dept. of Health". 
  31. ^ "Mumps". Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g Senanayake SN (2008). "Mumps: a resurgent disease with protean manifestations". Med J Aust 189 (8): 456–9. PMID 18928441. 

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