Mumps

General information about mumps, including symptoms, complications, tests, and treatment.

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On this page:
What is mumps?
What are the symptoms of mumps?
What are the complications associated with mumps?
How is mumps diagnosed?
How is mumps spread?
How long is a person able to spread mumps?
Is there a vaccine for mumps?
What can be done to prevent the spread of mumps?
Is there a treatment for mumps?

What is mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the saliva glands located between the ear and the jaw.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face (parotitis)

What are the complications associated with mumps?

Up to 30 percent of all people infected with the mumps virus do not have symptoms. Orchitis (swelling of the testicles) is a common symptom in males after puberty. Rarely, swelling of the spinal cord and brain (encephalitis) occurs.

How is mumps diagnosed?

Suspected mumps cases may be diagnosed by a health care provider by looking at symptoms and laboratory test results. Health care providers may collect samples from the nose and throat, as well as urine and blood samples to test for the virus. There are other illnesses that can cause similar symptoms, so it is important that the correct laboratory testing is done.

How is mumps spread?

The virus is found in fluids from the mouth and nose of someone with mumps. The virus is spread when fluid containing the virus gets in your nose, mouth, or eyes. This can happen when a person with mumps coughs or sneezes near you, or by touching the fluid and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Sharing beverage containers, eating utensils, cigarettes, and kissing are other examples of how the virus can be spread in fluids between individuals.

How long is a person able to spread mumps?

Mumps can normally be spread three days before symptoms appear through about four days after. Mumps is most contagious 48 hours before the illness begins.

Is there a vaccine for mumps?

Mumps vaccine is contained in the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). Two doses of the vaccine are needed for long-term protection.
Minnesota state law requires that all children 15 months of age or older, in child care settings or schools, be vaccinated against mumps or have a legal exemption. Learn more about MMR vaccine at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mmr.html. Attention: Non-MDH link

What can be done to prevent the spread of mumps?

The best way to prevent mumps is to be fully immunized. Persons who have mumps should stay at home for five days after swelling starts so that they do not spread it to others.

Is there a treatment for mumps?

There is no treatment for mumps, only symptom care.

Updated Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 09:22AM