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Mumps facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Mumps virions, thin sectioned TEM 8757 lores

Mumps is a viral disease. Only humans get it. Some of the most commons symptoms are fever, headaches, swelling of the parotoid glands and sore throat.

Complications include deafness and a wide range of inflammatory conditions, of which inflammation of the testes, breasts, ovaries, pancreas, meninges, and brain are the most common.

Mumps can be diagnosed by the increase in alpha amylase isoenzymes in blood plasma.

The MMR vaccine stops measles, mumps and rubella. We can say that mumps can be prevented by MMR vaccination.


The word "mumps" is first attested circa 1600 and is the plural form of "mump", meaning "grimace", originally a verb meaning "to whine or mutter like a beggar". The disease was likely called mumps in reference to the swelling caused by mumps parotitis, reflecting its impact on facial expressions and the painful, difficult swallowing that it causes. "Mumps" was also used starting from the 17th century to mean "a fit of melancholy, sullenness, silent displeasure". Mumps is sometimes called "epidemic parotitis".

Common symptoms

Over the course of the disease, three distinct phases are recognized: prodromal, early acute, and established acute.

The prodromal phase typically has non-specific, mild symptoms such as:

  • a low-grade fever,
  • headache,
  • malaise,
  • muscle pain,
  • loss of appetite,
  • and sore throat.

In the early acute phase, as the mumps virus spreads throughout the body, systemic symptoms emerge. Most commonly, parotitis (inflammation of the parotid glands ) occurs during this time period. It is the most common mumps symptom. Parotitis occurs 2–3 weeks after exposure to the virus, within two days of developing symptoms, and usually lasts 2–3 days, but it may last as long as a week or longer.

During the established acute phase, orchitis, meningitis, and encephalitis may occur, and these conditions are responsible for the bulk of mumps morbidity.


There is no specific antiviral treatments exist for mumps. Treatment is aimed at alleviating symptoms and preventing complications.

Doctors recommend bed rest, consuming more fluids, eating soft food, and gargling with warm salt water. Anti-fever medications may be used, excluding aspirin that may cause Reye syndrome in children. Analgesics may control pain from mumps inflammatory conditions. For seizures, anticonvulsants may be used. In severe neurological cases, ventilators may be used to support breathing.


Select mumps combination vaccines
Vaccine Strain MMR(V)
MMR II Jeryl Lynn MMR
Morupar Urabe AM9 MMR
Priorix Jeryl Lynn RIT 4385 MMR
Trimovax Urabe AM9 MMR
Triviraten Rubini MMR
Priorix-Tetra Jeryl Lynn RIT 4385 MMRV
ProQuad Jeryl Lynn MMRV

Mumps is preventable with vaccination. Mumps vaccines use live attenuated viruses. Most countries include mumps vaccination in their immunization programs, and the MMR vaccine, which also protects against measles and rubella, is the most commonly used mumps vaccine. Mumps vaccination can also be done on its own and as a part of the MMRV vaccine, which also provides protection against measles, rubella, chickenpox, and shingles. More than 120 countries have adopted mumps vaccination, but coverage remains low in most African, South Asian, and Southeast Asian countries.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Parotiditis para niños

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