Mumps: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

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

The swollen salivary glands typically appear about the third day of the infection, with the more nonspecific symptoms occurring earlier. The gland swelling can last up to 10 days. Symptoms in adults tend to be worse than those in children.

Cause of mumps

Mumps is caused by the mumps virus. It is transmitted only from human to human and can spread rapidly among people living in close quarters. The virus most commonly is spread by respiratory droplets expelled during sneezing or coughing.

Related Symptoms & Signs

Other mumps symptoms and signs

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Mumps." July 27, 2016. <>.