Classification and external resources

Child with mumps.
ICD-10 B26
ICD-9 072
DiseasesDB 8449
MedlinePlus 001557
eMedicine emerg/324 emerg/391 ped/1503
MeSH D009107

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 the third world, 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.


Signs and symptoms

The more common symptoms of mumps are:

  • Parotid inflammation (or parotitis) in 60–70% of infections and 95% of patients with symptoms.[2] Parotitis causes swelling and local pain, particularly when chewing. It can occur on one side (unilateral) but is more common on both sides (bilateral) in about 90% of cases.[6]
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Orchitis, referring to painful inflammation of the testicles.[7] Males past puberty who develop mumps have a 30 percent risk of orchitis.[8]

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.[9]

Fever and headache are prodromal symptoms of mumps, together with malaise and anorexia.


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.[10][11] The incubation period (time until symptoms begin) can be from 14–25 days but is more typically 16–18 days.[12]


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.[13] An estimated 20%-30% of cases are asymptomatic.[14] As with any inflammation of the salivary glands, serum amylase is often elevated.[15][16]


The most common preventative measure against mumps is a vaccination with a mumps vaccine, invented by Maurice Hilleman at Merck.[17] The vaccine may be given separately or as part of the MMR immunization vaccine which 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 15 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the routine administration of MMR vaccine at ages 12–15 months and at 4–6 years.[18] 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%.[19][20] 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.[21]

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.[22]

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[23][24] (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" [25]) that indicated a link between gastrointestinal disease, autism, and the MMR vaccine. However, all further studies[citation needed] since that time have indicated no link between vaccination with the MMR and autism. Since the dangers of the disease are well known, while 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 (Tylenol) for pain relief. Aspirin is not used due to a hypothetical link with Reye's syndrome. Warm salt water gargles, soft foods, and extra fluids may also help relieve symptoms. According to the Department of Health of Minnesota there is no effective post-exposure recommendation to prevent secondary transmission, as well as the post-exposure use of vaccine or immunoglobulin is not 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:

  • Infection of other organ systems
  • Mumps viral infections in adolescent and adult males carry an up to 30% risk that the testes may become infected (orchitis or epididymitis), which can be quite painful; about half of these infections result in testicular atrophy, and in rare cases sterility can follow.[32]
  • Spontaneous abortion in about 27% of cases during the first trimester of pregnancy.[32]
  • Mild forms of meningitis in up to 10% of cases[32] (40% of cases occur without parotid swelling)
  • Oophoritis (inflammation of ovaries) in about 5% of adolescent and adult females,[32] but fertility is rarely affected.
  • Pancreatitis in about 4% of cases, manifesting as abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Encephalitis (very rare, and fatal in about 1% of the cases when it occurs)[32]
  • Profound (91 dB or more) but rare sensorineural hearing loss, uni- or bilateral. Acute unilateral deafness occurs in about 0.005% of cases.[32]

After the illness, life-long 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. ^ a b 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, Jovanovic J, Ristic D (1996). "[Fertility in men after mumps infection without manifestations of orchitis]". Med Pregl 49 (3–4): 99–102. PMID 8692089. 
  4. ^ Shakhov EV, Krupin VN (1990). "[The clinico-statistical characteristics of the testicular generative function in male subfertility following mumps]". Urol Nefrol (Mosk) (2): 46–50. PMID 2368216. 
  5. ^ Tsvetkov D (1990). "[Spermatological disorders in patients with postmumps orchitis]". Akush Ginekol (Sofiia) 29 (6): 46–9. PMID 2100952. 
  6. ^ Bedford H (2005). "Mumps: current outbreaks and vaccination recommendations". Nurs Times 101 (39): 53–4, 56. PMID 16218124. 
  7. ^ Manson AL (1990). "Mumps orchitis". Urology 36 (4): 355–8. doi:10.1016/0090-4295(90)80248-L. PMID 2219620. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Mumps, FAQ For Young Adults, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,
  10. ^ Symptoms of mumps
  11. ^ 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
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (April 2006). "Mumps epidemic--Iowa, 2006". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) 55 (13): 366–8. PMID 16601665. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  15. ^ Amylase: The Test, Lab Tests Online UK
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ Offit PA (2007). Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases. Washington, DC: Smithsonian. ISBN 0-06-122796-X. 
  18. ^ [2]PDF[dead link]
  19. ^ 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. PMC 32261. PMID 10435956. 
  20. ^ "Summary". WHO: Mumps vaccine. Retrieved 2006-04-18. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "Critical flaws" in Andrew Wakefield's studies
  24. ^ Andrew Wakefield's downfall
  25. ^ "Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds". CNN. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  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, Secmeer 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, et al. (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. ^ 2006 mumps outbreak occurred despite high vaccination rate - Los Angeles Times[dead link]
  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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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • MUMPS — Apparu en 1966 Auteur Neil Pappalardo Paradigme procédural Typage …   Wikipédia en Français

  • mumps — /mumps/, n. (used with a sing. v.) Pathol. an infectious disease characterized by inflammatory swelling of the parotid and usually other salivary glands, and sometimes by inflammation of the testes or ovaries, caused by a paramyxovirus. [1590… …   Universalium

  • mumps — mȕmps (mȕms) m DEFINICIJA pat. zarazna bolest priušnih žlijezda koje oteknu na jednoj ili na obje strane lica; parotitis, zaušnjaci ETIMOLOGIJA njem. Mumps ← engl. mumps …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • mumps — the illness, is usually treated as a singular noun (Mumps is common in young children), and is sometimes used informally or locally with the • (This morning I had a chat with one of the girls who has been off sick with the mumps Evening Gazette,… …   Modern English usage

  • Mumps — Mumps, n. [Prov. E. mump to be sulky. Cf. {Mump}, {Mumble}, and {Mum}.] 1. pl. Sullenness; silent displeasure; the sulks. Skinner. [1913 Webster] 2. [Prob. so called from the patient s appearance.] (Med.) A specific infectious febrile disorder… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • mumps — [mʌmps] n [U] also the mumps [Date: 1500 1600; Origin: mump expression made by twisting the mouth (16 17 centuries)] an infectious illness which makes your neck swell and become painful …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Mumps — der, landsch. auch die; <aus gleichbed. engl. mumps> Ziegenpeter; durch ein Virus hervorgerufene Entzündung der Ohrspeicheldrüse mit schmerzhaften Schwellungen (Med.) …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

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