Mumps

(Epidemic Parotitis)

Definition

Mumps is an infection of the parotid glands. These glands are located on the side of the face, near the ear. Because of the mumps vaccine, this condition is not as common as it once was in the United States.
Swollen Parotid Gland
Swollen Parotid Gland
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The virus is usually spread through contact with an infected person's saliva. The mumps virus spreads easily among people in close contact.

Risk Factors

Mumps are more common in children and adolescents between the ages of 10-19 years of age. Other factors that may increase your chance of mumps include:
  • Being unvaccinated and exposed to people who have mumps
  • Being born after 1956 and never having mumps, or not being vaccinated after first birthday
  • Season: winter
  • Having a weakened immune system, even if you have been vaccinated

Symptoms

About one-third of cases do not have symptoms. Symptoms often occur 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus.Mumps may cause:
  • Painful swelling of the parotid glands
  • Fever
  • Discomfort
  • Lack of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
Other areas may also be affected, such as:
  • Swelling and pain under the tongue, jaw, or front of the chest
  • In males: painful inflammation of the testicles
  • In females—inflammation of the ovaries, which results in pain or tenderness in the abdomen

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis will be based on these findings.

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