• Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Mumps Virus Symptoms and Signs

Many people do not develop symptoms when they become infected with the mumps virus, so they may never know they had the infection. Others develop symptoms such as fever, swollen and tender parotid glands (the salivary glands located beneath the ears), and headache.

Other possible symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite, and muscle aches.

Quick GuideChildhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More

Childhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More

Mumps facts

  • Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection with an incubation period of 14-18 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The duration of the disease is approximately 10 days.
  • The initial symptoms of mumps infection are nonspecific (low-grade fever, malaise, headache, muscle aches, and loss of appetite). The classic finding of parotid gland tenderness and swelling generally develops the third day of illness. The diagnosis is generally made without the need for laboratory tests.
  • Serious complications of mumps include meningitis, encephalitis, deafness, and orchitis.
  • The MMR vaccine provides 80% effective immunity against mumps following a two-dosage schedule (12-15 months with booster at 4-6 years of age).
  • No specific therapy exists for mumps. Warm or cold packs for the parotid gland tenderness and swelling is helpful. Pain relievers (acetaminophen [Tylenol] and ibuprofen [Advil]) are also helpful.
Reviewed on 5/17/2016

Albrecht, Mary A. "Epidemiology, Clinical Manifestations, Diagnosis and Management of Mumps." Jan. 2011.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009.


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