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.
In this Article
- 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?
What are risk factors for contracting mumps?
- Failure to be immunized completely (two separate doses) with exposure to those with mumps
- Age: The highest risk of contracting mumps is to children between 2-12 years of age
- Season: epidemics of mumps were most likely during the winter/spring seasons
- Travel to high-risk regions of the world: Africa, general Indian subcontinent region, and Southeast Asia. These areas have a very low rate of vaccination.
- Weakening immune system: either due to diseases (for example, HIV/AIDS, cancer) or medication (oral steroid use for more than two weeks, chemotherapy)
- Born before 1956: Generally, these individuals are believed to have experienced mumps infection in childhood. However, if they did not, they are at risk for adult mumps disease. A blood test may be obtained to determine immunity and is worthwhile if any doubt exists regarding prior mumps infection.
What are the signs and symptoms of mumps in children and adults?
Nonspecific symptoms of low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches (myalgia), reduced appetite, and malaise occur during the first 48 hours of mumps infection. Parotid gland swelling characteristically is present on day three of illness. (The parotid gland is a salivary gland located anterior to the ear and above the angle of the jaw -- imagine a large set of sideburns.) The parotid gland is swollen and tender to touch, and referred pain to the ear may also occur. Parotid gland swelling may last up to 10 days, and adults generally experience worse symptoms than children. Approximately 95% of individuals who develop symptoms of mumps will experience tender inflammation of their parotid glands.
Interestingly about 15%-20% of mumps cases have no clinical evidence of infection, and 50% of patients will have only nonspecific respiratory symptoms and not the characteristic description above. Adults are more likely to experience such a subclinical or respiratory-only constellation of symptoms while children between 2-9 years of age are more likely to experience the classic presentation of mumps with parotid gland swelling.
Next: How is mumps diagnosed?
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