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Mumps
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Mumps

For the computer language of the same name, see MUMPS.

Mumps (or Epidemic parotitis) is a viral disease of humans. Prior to the development of vaccination, it was a common childhood disease worldwide, and is still a significant threat to health in the third world.

It causes painful enlargement of the salivary or parotid glands.

Table of contents
1 Causes and risks
2 Prevention
3 Symptoms
4 Signs and tests
5 Treatment
6 Prognosis
7 Complications
8 What to do

Causes and risks

The mumps are caused by a paramyxovirus, which is spread from person to person by saliva droplets or direct contact with articles that have been contaminated with infected saliva. The parotid glands (the salivary glands between the ear and the jaw) are usually involved. Children between the ages of 2 and 12 are most commonly infected, but the infection can occur in other age groups. In older people, other organs may become involved including the testes, the central nervous system, the pancreas, the prostate, the breasts, and other organs. The incubation period is usually 12 to 24 days.

Prevention

MMR immunization (vaccine) protects against measles, mumps and rubella and should be given to children 15 months old. The vaccination is repeated in some locations between 4 to 6 years of age, or between 11 and 12 years of age if not previously given. See also immunizations - general overview.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

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.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Symptoms may be relieved by the application of intermittent ice or heat to the affected neck area, acetaminophen - oral for pain relief (do not give aspirin to children with a viral illness because of the risk of Reye's syndrome). Warm salt water gargles, soft foods, and extra fluids may also help relieve symptoms.

Prognosis

The probable outcome is good, even if other organs are involved. Sterility in men from involvement of the testes is very rare. After the illness, life-long immunity to mumps occurs.

Complications

What to do

Update Date: 08/15/01
Copied from the National Library of Medicine's Medline Plus website. Update date included for cross-reference against newer versions.