John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Mumps facts
- What is mumps?
- What is the history of mumps?
- What causes mumps? How is mumps transmitted?
- What are risk factors for contracting mumps?
- What are the signs and symptoms of mumps in children and adults?
- How is mumps diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for mumps in adults and in children?
- What are complications of mumps?
- Can mumps be prevented? Is there a vaccine for mumps?
- What is the prognosis of a mumps infection?
- Where can people find more information on mumps?
- Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection with an incubation period of 14-18 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The duration of the disease is approximately 10 days.
- The initial symptoms of mumps infection are nonspecific (low-grade fever, malaise, headache, muscle aches, and loss of appetite). The classic finding of parotid gland tenderness and swelling generally develops the third day of illness. The diagnosis is generally made without the need for laboratory tests.
- Serious complications of mumps include meningitis, encephalitis, deafness, and orchitis.
- The MMR vaccine provides 80% effective immunity against mumps following a two-dosage schedule (12-15 months with booster at 4-6 years of age).
- No specific therapy exists for mumps. Warm or cold packs for the parotid gland tenderness and swelling is helpful. Pain relievers (acetaminophen [Tylenol] and ibuprofen [Advil]) are also helpful.
Learn more about: Tylenol
What is mumps?
Mumps is a viral infection transmitted by and affecting only humans. While the salivary glands (especially the parotid gland) are well known to be involved during a mumps infection, many other organ systems may also experience effects of the virus infection. There is no cure for mumps, but the illness is of short duration (seven to 10 days) and resolves spontaneously. Prior to the introduction of mumps vaccination, the highest rate of new cases of mumps was reported in the late winter to early spring.
What is the history of mumps?
Medical historians believe that documentation of a clinical illness consistent with mumps dates back to Greco-Roman times. The first effective vaccine against mumps was introduced in 1948 and used from 1950-1978. Unfortunately, this vaccine strain had limited long-term immune memory effectiveness. The current strain used in the United States and worldwide provides over 80% long-term immunity. The current childhood mumps immunization schedule recommends vaccination at 1 and 4 years of age. The mumps vaccine is commonly administered as part of a combination vaccine (MMR) also providing protection against measles and rubella (German measles).
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