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Mumps is an acute viral disease caused by mumps virus leading to swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, usually the parotid. 

It usually occurs in children between 5 and 15 years but can also occur in older people. Mumps is more common during the winter and spring seasons.

Mumps virus is transmitted by:
  1. Droplet spread.
  2. Direct contact with saliva of an infected person.


Incubation period
12 - 25 days (commonly 18 days).

Signs and Symptoms

  • Fever up to 103 degrees
  • Swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands (usually parotid). Pain gets worse when the child swallows, talks, chews or drinks acidic juices (like orange juice).
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • No symptoms at all (about 1/3 of cases)
  • Rare complications include: encephalitis, meningitis, arthritis, kidney involvement, inflammation of the thyroid gland and breasts and deafness. Orchitis (inflammation of the testicles) can develop in adolescent and adult males.


Diagnosis is usually clinical.

Laboratory diagnosis:

  • Detection of mumps IgM antibody.
  • Demonstration of specific mumps antibody response in absence of recent vaccination.
  • Isolation of mumps virus (not vaccine strains) from clinical specimen.
  • Detection of mumps nucleic acid.

Usually supportive, antipyretics (tablets to lower the temperature), etc.

Control and Prevention
Children and infected persons should not attend school or workplace up to 9 days following onset of swelling.

Immunisation programme: Live attenuated vaccine is available as single or part of the MMR. 

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