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Mary A Albrecht, MD
Section Editors
Martin S Hirsch, MD
Sheldon L Kaplan, MD
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Mumps is a contagious viral illness that is largely preventable via vaccination [1]. Typically, it begins with a few days of fever, headache, myalgia, fatigue, and anorexia, followed by parotitis; the illness is usually self-limited.

The epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mumps are discussed here. Issues related to vaccination for prevention of mumps are discussed separately. (See "Measles, mumps, and rubella immunization in infants, children, and adolescents" and "Measles, mumps, and rubella immunization in adults".)


Mumps occurs worldwide; the peak incidence is typically in the late winter to early spring, although sporadic outbreaks occur at any time of year. Mumps occurs most commonly among school-aged children and college-aged young adults; it is rare among infants less than one year of age, who have protection via maternal antibodies.

Before the United States mumps vaccination program began in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year; the actual number of cases was likely much higher due to underreporting. Since implementation of routine vaccination, there has been a more than 99 percent decrease in mumps cases in the United States [2]. From year to year in the United States, cases can range from a few hundred to a few thousand (figure 1) [3-6]. (See "Measles, mumps, and rubella immunization in infants, children, and adolescents" and "Measles, mumps, and rubella immunization in adults".)

Transmission — Mumps is highly infectious and is transmitted by respiratory droplets, direct contact, or fomites [7]. Mumps spreads rapidly among susceptible individuals living in close quarters, such as young adults living in college dormitories. Infection among school-aged children may be associated with further spread to household family members.

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 14, 2017.
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