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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


The mumps virus causes an acute, self-limited viral syndrome. Prior to the widespread use of an effective vaccine, mumps primarily occurred in young children attending primary grade school; mumps was also a leading cause of viral meningitis and the most common cause of unilateral-acquired sensorineural deafness in children [1]. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred in the United States and Europe; some of these patients have required hospitalizations due to complications of infection.

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 adults".)


Mumps occurs worldwide. The peak incidence is typically in the late winter to early spring, although sporadic outbreaks occur.

In the United States, after development of the mumps vaccine in 1967 and introduction of a policy for administration of one dose of mumps vaccine in 1977, reported mumps cases dropped by 98 percent [2,3]. Routine mumps immunization was recommended by the American College of Pediatrics until 1982, leaving a cohort of young adults (born after 1956 but before 1982) at risk. A second dose of vaccine was recommended in 1989; this led to historically low rates of mumps, prompting a goal of mumps elimination [4,5].

In 1987, there was a resurgence of mumps (13,000 cases) among individuals born between 1967 and 1977 who did not receive mandatory mumps vaccine for school entry. These outbreaks led to a change in the demographic of peak incidence, from 5 to 9 years to 10 to 19 years of age [6]. Adults also remained susceptible to mumps; more than 10 percent of cases in 1987 occurred in individuals >20 years of age.


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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Mon Nov 28 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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