Mumps (epidemic parotitis) is a viral disease of the human species, caused by the mumps virus. Before the development of vaccination and the introduction of a vaccine, it was a common childhood disease worldwide. Painful swelling of the salivary glands (classically the parotid gland) is the most typical presentation.
When signs and symptoms do develop, they usually appear about two to three weeks after exposure to the virus and may include: swollen, painful salivary glands on one or both sides of your face, pain with chewing or swallowing, fever, and weakness and fatigue. The primary- and best known- sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out. In fact, the term "mumps" is an old expression for lumps or bumps within the cheeks.
The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps. The MMR vaccine should be routinely given when children are 12-15 months old, and a second dose should be given when they are 4-6 years old. Two doses of the vaccine are more effective against mumps than one dose and prevent most, but not all, cases of mumps and mumps complications.
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. Mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps.
Mumps is mostly a mild childhood disease. It most often affects children between five and nine years old. But the mumps virus can infect adults as well. When it does, complications are more likely to be serious.
Orchitis and oophoritis are possible side effects of mumps. Orchitis is a condition that causes painful swelling in one or both of the testes, as well as the lower abdomen. Oophoritis is a swelling of the ovaries, which may cause severe pain in the abdomen. Mastitis, or inflammation of the breast is also possible. A woman who is pregnant could miscarry as a side effect of the mumps.
Meningitis and encephalitis are rare side effects associated with mumps. Meningitis occurs when the fluid and membranes around the spinal cord and/or brain become infected or inflamed. A stiff neck, fever over 102 degrees Farenheit and a severe headache are signs of this complication. Encephalitis, which is characterized by flu-like symptoms, is an inflammation in the brain caused by a viral infection.
The number of cases of mumps decreased dramatically in the United States following the introduction of the mumps vaccine in 1967, from an estimated 100,000 -200,000 to fewer than 300 cases annually. In the United States, since 2001, an average of 265 mumps cases has been reported each year. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of mumps cases reported. In 2006, over 6,000 cases of mumps were reported across the nation.
The mumps vaccine, which is contained in the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, can prevent this disease. Mumps-containing vaccine is recommended for anyone born on or after January 1, 1957, who does not have a history of physician-diagnosed mumps or a blood test confirming mumps immunity. Evidence of immunity through documentation of adequate vaccination is now defined as 1 dose of a live mumps virus vaccine for preschool-aged children and adults not at high risk and 2 doses for school-aged children (i.e., grades K-12,) and for adults at high risk (i.e., healthcare personnel, international travelers, and students at post-high-school educational institutions).
After a case of mumps it is very unusual to have a second bout because one attack of mumps almost always gives lifelong protection against another.
Children usually recover from mumps in about 10 to 12 days. It takes about 1 week for the swelling to disappear in each parotid gland, but both glands don't usually swell at the same time.