Mumps

  • 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.

Quick GuideChildhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More

Childhood Diseases: Measles, Mumps, & More

What causes mumps? Is mumps contagious? How is mumps transmitted?

Mumps virus is a single strand of RNA housed inside a two-layered envelope that provides the virus its characteristic immune signature. Only one type of mumps virus has been demonstrated to exist (in contrast to the many virus types that can cause the common cold).

Mumps is highly contagious on the order of magnitude of both influenza and rubella (German measles). It is, however, less contagious than measles and varicella (chickenpox). It is transmitted only from human to human. Mumps has a rapid spread among members living in close quarters. The virus most commonly is spread directly from one person to another via respiratory droplets expelled during sneezing or coughing. Less frequently, the respiratory droplets may land on fomites (sheets, pillows, clothing) and then be transmitted via hand-to-mouth contact after touching such items. Animals cannot contract or spread measles.

What is the incubation period for mumps?

There is a 14-18-day period between contracting the mumps virus and onset of symptoms and signs. Viral shedding is short lived and a patient should be isolated from other susceptible individuals for the first five days following the onset of swelling of the salivary (parotid) glands.

What is the contagious period for mumps?

The highest likelihood of spreading mumps covers the period of two days before the onset of symptoms and the first five days of parotid gland swelling and tenderness.

How long does mumps last?

Routine cases of mumps last approximately seven to 10 days.

Reviewed on 1/31/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Albrecht, Mary A. "Epidemiology, Clinical Manifestations, Diagnosis and Management of Mumps." UptoDate.com. 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.

Meissner, H. Cody. "What You Need to Know About Mumps." AAP News Oct. 3, 2016. IMAGES:

1.Getty Images

2.MedicineNet

3.CDC

4.iStock

5.Thinkstock

6.iStock

7.MedicineNet / CDC

8.Getty Images

9.iStock

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