Mumps – A viral infection

Mumps Overview

Mumps is a viral infection, primarily affecting the Salivary Glands. Mumps is a contagious disease that leads to painful swelling of the salivary glands. The salivary glands produce saliva, a liquid that moistens food and helps you chew and swallow. The virus is transmitted by direct contact, or via airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract of infected people. Initial symptoms usually appear 2–3 weeks after infection, and include headache, muscle pain, low-grade fever and malaise. Soon after, swelling of one or both parotid glands appears. There is no specific treatment for mumps. The virus usually causes mild disease in children, but in adults can lead to complications, such as meningitis and orchitis. Mumps can be prevented by immunization. Mumps may also infect :-

  • Central nervous system
  • Pancreas
  • Testes

Causes of Mumps

The mumps are caused by a virus. The virus is spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets (for example, when you sneeze) or by direct contact with items that have been contaminated with infected saliva. Mumps most commonly occurs in children ages 2 – 12 who have not been vaccinated against the disease. However, the infection can occur at any age. The time between being exposed to the virus and getting sick (incubation period) is usually 12 – 24 days.

Mumps Symptoms

Symptoms  of Mumps are as follows:-

  • Face pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the parotid glands (the largest salivary glands, located between the ear and the jaw)
  • Swelling of the temples or jaw (temporomandibular area)

Other Symptoms of Mumps that can occur in males:

Before and after being infected with Mumps.
Before and after being infected with Mumps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Testicle lump
  • Testicle pain
  • Scrotal swelling

Diagnosis of Mumps

A physical examination confirms the presence of the swollen glands. No testing is usually required.

Treatment of Mumps

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Ice or heat packs applied to the neck area and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help relieve pain. Do not give aspirin to children with a viral illness because of the risk of Reye syndrome.

You can also relieve symptoms with:

  • Extra fluids
  • Soft foods
  • Warm salt water gargles

Mumps Vaccines

The first Measles Vaccines became available in 1963; the Mumps Vaccine first became available in 1967, followed by the Rubella Vaccine in 1969. These three vaccines were combined in 1971 to form the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Vaccine. A single Antigen Mumps Vaccine was available until 1975.

Adult Mumps

When an adult is infected with the Mumps Virus, the virus begins to swell within the nose, throat, and lymph glands in the neck. The virus can also enter the blood and spread to other parts of the body. After 16 to 18 days, on average, mumps symptoms can appear. This period between mumps transmission and the start of symptoms is known as the “Incubation Period for Mumps.” In some cases, the incubation period can be as early as 12 days or as late as 25 days. An adult with Mumps is contagious anytime from about 3 days prior to the onset of the swelling of the Salivary Glands (called parotitis) to 9 days after the onset. Adult Mumps Treatment focuses on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the virus.

Topics Covered

  1. Mumps
  2. Salivary Glands
  3. Causes of Mumps
  4. Symptoms of Mumps
  5. Diagnosis of Mumps
  6. Treatment of Mumps


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One thought on “Mumps – A viral infection

  1. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!…

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