Mumps is a viral infection. The infection causes fever and swelling of the parotid glands. Because of the mumps vaccine, this condition is not as common as it once was in the United States.
The virus is usually spread through contact with an infected person's saliva. The mumps virus is highly contagious. It spreads easily among people in close contact.
These factors increase your chance of developing mumps:
Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors.
About one-third of cases have no symptoms at all. Symptoms often occur 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus.
Mumps may cause:
Other areas may also be affected, such as:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will diagnose the mumps based on these findings.
There is no specific treatment for mumps. Mumps is caused by a virus. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Do not treat mumps with aspirin.
Note: Do not give aspirin to children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving a child aspirin.
In general, mumps will last about 10-12 days. Try these comfort measures:
In most healthy children, complications are rare. When complications do occur, they include:
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. The vaccine contains live viruses that can no longer cause disease. The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with:
The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years.
Ask your doctor if the vaccine is right for you. In general, avoid the vaccine if you:
If you are not vaccinated, avoid contact with someone who has mumps. Discuss the benefits of vaccination with your doctor.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Braunwald E. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 15th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2001.
Infertility in men. University of Maryland Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.umm.edu.... Updated October 2006. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Kassianos G. Vaccination for tomorrow: the need to improve immunisation rates. J Fam Health Care. 2010;20(1):13-6.
Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated July 2008. Accessed July 28, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 09/27/2012