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 usually causes painful
enlargement of the salivary or parotid glands.
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 central
nervous system, the pancreas and the prostate. The incubation period is
usually 12 to 24 days.
MMR immunization (vaccine)
protects against measles, mumps and rubella and is given to children
around the age of 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.
· face pain
· swelling of the parotid glands (neck swelling) (in
60%-70% of cases)
· sore throat
· swelling of the temples or jaw (temporomandibular
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
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 (paracetamol)
- 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.
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