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Mumps (parotitis) facts

  • Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection.
  • Mumps has an incubation period of 14-18 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The duration of the disease is approximately seven to 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 health complications of mumps include meningitis, encephalitis, deafness, and orchitis.
  • The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine provides 88% effective immunity against mumps following a two-dosage schedule (12-15 months with booster at 4-6 years of age). A single mumps vaccination protects approximately 78% of individuals against the disease.
  • No specific treatment 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.
Reviewed on 1/31/2017
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