Mumps is a viral disease caused by the mumps virus. Initial signs and symptoms often include fever, muscle pain, headache, poor appetite, and feeling generally unwell. This is then usually followed by painful swelling of one or both parotid salivary glands. Symptoms typically occur 16 to 18 days after exposure and resolve after 7 to 10 days. Symptoms are often more severe in adults than in children. About a third of people have mild or no symptoms. Complications may include meningitis (15%), pancreatitis (4%), inflammation of the heart, permanent deafness, and testicular inflammation, which uncommonly results in infertility. Women may develop ovarian swelling, but this does not increase the risk of infertility.
Mumps is highly contagious and spreads rapidly among people living in close quarters. The virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected person. Only humans get and spread the disease. People are infectious from about 7 days before onset of parotid inflammation to about 8 days after. Once an infection has run its course, a person is typically immune for life. Reinfection is possible, but the ensuing infection tends to be mild. Diagnosis is usually suspected due to parotid swelling and can be confirmed by isolating the virus on a swab of the parotid duct.Testing for IgM antibodies in the blood is simple and may be useful; however, it can be falsely negative in those who have been immunized.
Mumps is preventable by two doses of the mumps vaccine. Most of the developed world includes it in their immunization programs, often in combination with measles, rubella, and varicella vaccine. Countries that have low immunization rates may see an increase in cases among older age groups and thus worse outcomes. No specific treatment is known. Efforts involve controlling symptoms with pain medication such as paracetamol (acetaminophen).Intravenous immunoglobulin may be useful in certain complications. Hospitalization may be required if meningitis or pancreatitis develops. About one in 10,000 people who are infected die.
Without immunization, about 0.1 to 1.0% of the population is affected per year. Widespread vaccination has resulted in a more than 90% decline in rates of disease. Mumps is more common in the developing world, where vaccination is less common. Outbreaks, however, may still occur in a vaccinated population. Before the introduction of a vaccine, mumps was a common childhood disease worldwide. Larger outbreaks of disease typically occurred every 2 to 5 years. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 were most commonly affected. Among immunized populations, those in their early 20s often are affected. Around the equator, it often occurs all year round, while in the more northerly and southerly regions of the world, it is more common in the winter and spring. Painful swelling of the parotid glands and testicles was described by Hippocrates in the fifth century BCE.