Mumps is caused by a virus exhibiting glandular and nervous tissue tropism. Although mumps is considered a rather benign childhood disease, in some instances it can result in severe complications.


Symptoms of mumps

After a mean incubation period of 15 days, mumps begins with general malaise and fever, followed by the swelling of the parotid (salivary) glands. Recovery is usually complete within approximately a week.

Complications such as aseptic meningitis, deafness, orchitis (inflammation of the testis), and pancreatitis may appear, especially among adults.

No specific treatment is currently available.


Epidemiology and vaccination against mumps

Mumps is a strictly human, highly contagious disease.

Transmission occurs through direct contact or inhalation of respiratory droplets from infected patients. Patients with mumps are contagious during the two days preceding the swelling of the salivary glands and up to nine days following the onset of swelling.

In most regions throughout the world, the annual incidence of mumps is estimated between 100 and 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, with epidemic peaks occurring every two to five years. (17)

Approximately 120 countries have already introduced mumps vaccination into their national immunization program. (18)

Mumps vaccine is usually administered in combination with measles and rubella vaccines (MMR vaccine).



17 - Mumps virus vaccines. WER. 2001;76(45):345-56

18 - WHO-recommended surveillance standard of mumps: