Mumps

(Epidemic Parotitis)
  • Definition

    Mumps is an infection of the parotid glands. These glands are located on the side of the face, near the ear. Because of the mumps vaccine , this condition is not as common as it once was in the United States.
    Swollen Parotid Gland
    Swollen Parotid Gland
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  • Causes

    The virus is usually spread through contact with an infected person's saliva. The mumps virus spreads easily among people in close contact.
  • Risk Factors

    Mumps are more common in children and adolescents between the ages of 10-19 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of mumps include:
    • Being unvaccinated and exposed to people who have mumps
    • Being born after 1956 and never having mumps, or not being vaccinated after first birthday
    • Season: winter
    • Having a weakened immune system, even if you have been vaccinated
  • Symptoms

    About one-third of cases do not have symptoms. Symptoms often occur 2-3 weeks after exposure to the virus.
    Mumps may cause:
    • Painful swelling of the parotid glands
    • Fever
    • Discomfort
    • Lack of appetite
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Stiff neck
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Drowsiness
    Other areas may also be affected, such as:
    • Swelling and pain under the tongue, jaw, or front of the chest
    • In males: painful inflammation of the testicles
    • In females—inflammation of the ovaries, which results in pain or tenderness in the abdomen
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will diagnose the mumps based on these findings.
  • Treatment

    There is no specific treatment for mumps. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics.
    In general, mumps will last about 10-12 days. Try these comfort measures:
    • Apply hot or cold compresses to swollen areas.
    • Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat.
    • Treat high fever with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
    • Drink plenty of liquids. Avoid tart or acidic drinks such as, orange juice or lemonade.
    • Eat a soft, bland diet.
    Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.
    Complications
    In most healthy children, complications are rare. When complications do occur, they may include:
    • Deafness , which may not be permanent
    • Swelling or infection of the brain, pancreas, heart, or other organs
    • Testicular inflammation
    • Problems with male fertility
  • Prevention

    Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. The vaccine contains live viruses that can no longer cause disease. The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with:
    The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years.
    Ask your doctor if the vaccine is right for you. In general, avoid the vaccine if you:
    • Have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or vaccine components
    • Are pregnant—Avoid pregnancy for 1-3 months after receiving the vaccine.
    • Have a weakened immune system
    • Have a high fever or severe upper respiratory tract infection
    If you are not vaccinated, avoid contact with someone who has mumps. Discuss the benefits of vaccination with your doctor.
  • RESOURCES

    Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

    The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

    References

    Kassianos G. Vaccination for tomorrow: the need to improve immunisation rates. J Fam Health Care. 2010;20(1):13-6.

    Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/mumps. Updated July 1, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

    Mumps. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 28, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

    Mumps. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/mumps.html. Updated July 2012. Accessed August 27, 2014.

    Mumps. Immunization Action Committee website. Available at: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/mumps. Updated August 3, 2014. Accessed August 27, 2014.

    Wilson KF, Meier JD, et al. Salivary gland disorders. 2014;89(11):882-888.

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