What is mumps?
What causes mumps?
Who gets mumps?
How does the mumps virus cause disease?
What are the common findings?
How is mumps diagnosed?
How is mumps treated?
What are the complications?
How can mumps be prevented?
What research is being done?
by Hal B. Jenson, M.D.
Chief, Pediatric Infectious Diseases
University of Texas Health Science Center
San Antonio, TX
by Charles T. Leach, M.D.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Texas Health Science Center
San Antonio, TX
Mumps, historically known as "epidemic parotitis," is an acute illness that is characterized
primarily by fever and swelling of the salivary glands.
The mumps virus, an RNA virus of the paramyxovirus family of viruses, causes mumps.
Mumps, which is extremely common in the rest of the world, is now very uncommon
in the United States. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine in 1967, there were
more than 150,000 reported cases each year in the United States. Since the routine
immunization of children with the mumps vaccine, the occurrence of mumps is very
low. In 1998, there were only 606 cases reported in the United States.
Mumps is highly contagious, and it has historically caused large outbreaks. Today,
mumps is usually seen in persons who have not received the vaccine.
The mumps virus is transmitted from person-to-person by direct contact or by contaminated
secretions of the nose and the mouth. Mumps causes an infection in the salivary
glands and in the lining of the mouth. It then spreads throughout the body, and,
sometimes, it causes inflammation in other glands of the body, including the testes
in males and the ovaries in females.
After an incubation period of usually 12 to 25 days, the first sign of illness is
usually a fever. Swelling and tenderness of the parotid salivary glands ("parotitis")
occasionally develop within a day after the onset of the fever. Fatigue, poor appetite,
abdominal pain, and headache may accompany these symptoms. The parotid gland, the
largest of the salivary glands, is found at the angle of the jaw. Parotid swelling
with mumps is usually visible, and it is accompanied by tenderness to touch, but
without any overlying redness. Normally, the parotid gland cannot be felt, but it
can be felt if mumps parotitis is present. Patients who develop parotitis may have
tender salivary glands, with the greatest symptoms after 1 to 3 days, and then the
symptoms gradually subside after about 6 to 10 days.
Approximately 30% of post-pubertal males with the mumps infection develop inflammation
of the testes ("orchitis"). Approximately 5% of post-pubertal females occasionally
develop inflamed ovaries ("oophoritis").
Mumps can cause viral meningitis that is usually mild and resolves with complete
recovery in three to four days.
Mumps usually is diagnosed on the basis of fever and the finding of parotid gland
swelling. There is a specific antibody test for mumps that can be used to confirm
the infection, but this requires obtaining blood at two time points, two to four
weeks apart, to test for the development of mumps antibodies.
There is no specific treatment for mumps. Antibiotics are not helpful because a
virus causes mumps. The disease usually is mild with complete recovery. Some children
may require hospitalization for intravenous fluids. Fever and pain should be treated
with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Bed rest and pain medications may be necessary
for orchitis until the symptoms resolve, which is usually within several days, but,
occasionally, may persist for two to three weeks.
The possibility of mumps orchitis causes unnecessary anxiety in many men concerned
about testicular atrophy and sterility. However, most cases of mumps orchitis involve
only one testicle that does not lead to sterility. Sterility from mumps is rare
even when both testicles are involved. Some degree of testicular shrinkage may be
detectable after the mumps infection; however, it does not cause sterility. Impotence
does not result from mumps.
Mumps is effectively prevented by the routine administration of the mumps vaccine,
usually given as Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccines to all children, which is
recommended beginning at 12 months of age. A single dose of the mumps vaccine results
in protection of approximately 95% of children. A second dose of MMR is recommended
at four to six years of age. It is not a problem if another dose of the mumps vaccine
is given in addition to the two recommended doses.
The spread of mumps can be prevented by minimizing exposure to children who have
symptoms of the disease, and by good handwashing after exposure to the disease.
Because mumps is now extremely uncommon, and because the vaccine is extremely safe
and effective in preventing mumps, there is not much research currently being performed
on this disease. There is some research being performed on the long-term immunity
of the mumps vaccine to confirm that it does provide lifelong immunity.
About the Authors
Hal Jenson, M.D.
Dr. Jenson graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington,
He also completed a residency in pediatrics at the Rainbow Babies and Children's
Hospital of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a fellowship
in pediatric infectious diseases and epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Jenson has an active research program on the biology of Epstein-Barr virus and
other human and non-human primate herpes viruses.
He is active in the general pediatric and infectious diseases teaching and clinical
activities of his Department and Division, is a co-editor of Nelson Textbook of
Pediatrics and of Pediatric Infectious Diseases: Principles and Practice, and authors
the book Pocket Guide to Vaccination and Prophylaxis.
Charles T. Leach, M.D.
Dr. Leach received his medical degree at the University of Utah School of Medicine
and completed his pediatrics residency as well as a fellowship in pediatric infectious
diseases at UCLA.
He is currently Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Department of
Pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Dr. Leach conducts scientific research in the areas of herpes virus infections,
pediatric AIDS, and infectious diseases among residents of the Texas-Mexico border.
Copyright 2012 Hal B. Jenson, M.D., All Rights Reserved
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither RemedyConnect nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.
RemedyConnect, Inc. has created this privacy statement in order to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: http://www.remedyconnect.com.
We do not acquire any more information about website visitors than is required by law or is otherwise necessary to provide a high level of service efficiently and securely. Our site's registration form requires users to give us contact information (e.g., their name and e-mail address) and demographic information (e.g., children's birth months, but not birth dates). We use customer contact information from the registration form to (1) send the user pertinent medical and parenting information and (2) allow your local health provider lists of who is registering on that provider's site as a parent/guardian, staff member, doctor, or visitor. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings; see the choice/opt-out section below.
We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Website. Your IP address is used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
Demographic and profile data is also collected at our site. We may use this data to tailor the visitor's experience at our site, showing them content that we think they might be interested in, and displaying the content according to their preferences.
Our site may use order forms to allow users to request information, products, and services.
We will respect your doctor's right to privacy. A doctor typically does not give his/her e-mail address to the parents/guardians of patients. We will not provide the e-mail addresses of doctor(s) in the local practice to users of their site without the doctor(s)' permission. Their site is restricted to use by whomever they wish, and they may deny access to their site to one or more prior users. In unusual cases, doctors may change their private site's access code and arrange for us to e-mail the new access code to approved users.
This site contains links to other sites. RemedyConnect.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Websites. See Disclaimers.
We will provide individually-identifiable information about website users to third parties only if we are compelled to do so by order of a duly-empowered governmental authority, we have the express permission of the visitor, or it is necessary to process transactions and provide you services from our affiliates: Live Agent Answering Service, Digital Answering Service, Medical Answering Service and Pediatric Answering Service.
This site may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available to its users. Please remember that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.
This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. For further information regarding our security, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any concerns regarding the security of information, please do not provide any information to RemedyConnect, Inc. until you are comfortable with our security measures.
You may correct or update your User Registration information at any time, by visiting the User Registration section and providing your personal password that you set at registration. If need be, please email us at email@example.com.
Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving e-mail communications from our partners or us, except communications approved by your doctor's practice office. To so opt-out, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To be removed as a user, please email us at the same address. If need be, you may mail requests to us at RemedyConnect, Inc., 9200 E. Mineral Avenue, Suite 100, Centennial, CO 80112. Our telephone number is 303-793-0703.
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us by email at email@example.com or by mail at our address above.