What is Mumps?

Mumps is the disease caused by the mumps virus, a member of the family Paramyxoviridae, of the genus Rubulavirus. It is a vaccine-preventable disease that only occurs in humans.

Vaccination against mumps prevents the disease. Most people from industrialised countries have likely been immunised for mumps virus already since the mumps vaccination is commonly part of a routine vaccination schedule. By the end of 2009, the mumps vaccination was included in the national immunisation schedules of approximately 114 of 193 World Health Organization member states. The cases of mumps have declined considerably wherever there is an immunisation program against the disease.

How do you get Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease that is transmitted person to person by direct contact with an infected person's saliva or by breathing in airborne respiratory secretions that are coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person.

Susceptibility and Resistance

Everyone is susceptible to mumps unless they have received vaccination or have had mumps in the past.

Incubation Period

The incubation period for Mumps is 16-18 days.

What are the Symptoms?

General symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle soreness, swelling and tenderness of salivary glands under the chin, and respiratory symptoms. Complications of the mumps disease can include: orchitis, oophoritis, or mastitis (inflammation of the testes, ovaries, or breasts, respectively), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain or of the brain itself, respectively), and deafness.

Preventative Measures

A vaccine is available to prevent mumps, and the vaccination is the best way to prevent this infection.


There is no specific treatment for mumps except for symptomatic care, such as applying ice or heat to swollen areas.


Where Does It Commonly Occur?

Although mumps outbreaks may occur anywhere in the world, they are more likely to occur in countries that do not have immunization programs for mumps. These countries include: all of Africa (except Libya and Egypt), Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, most of southeast Asia (except Thailand), Japan, South Korea, and some countries in the Caribbean.