Mumps classically causes swelling and inflammation of one or both of the parotid glands (parotitis).
More serious complications of mumps, such as meningitis, encephalitis, and orchitis, can occur in the absence of parotitis, potentially delaying the accurate diagnosis of the disease.
Diagnosis can usually be made based on the characteristic clinical features of parotitis and prodrome. Laboratory diagnosis is based on serological or salivary confirmation, detection of viral nucleic acid, or isolation of the virus from body fluids.
Treatment is symptomatic, and the disease can be prevented largely by routine vaccination.
The mumps vaccine is used almost universally in developed countries, as part of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Sporadic outbreaks have occurred in highly vaccinated populations, leading to suggestions that the vaccine’s efficacy may not be as high as originally thought and that vaccination policy should be reviewed, perhaps to include 3 doses.
Mumps is an acute systemic infectious disease caused by an RNA paramyxovirus. It is spread by respiratory droplets, and, before the advent of the mumps vaccine, it commonly affected school-aged children. Classically, mumps causes swelling of the parotid glands; the involvement of other salivary glands, meninges, gonads, and pancreas is also common.
History and exam
Key diagnostic factors
- history of missed or no vaccination or possible vaccine failure (primary or secondary)
Other diagnostic factors
- constitutional symptoms
- aseptic meningitis
- unvaccinated status
- healthcare worker
- international traveler
- close-contact living (college students, prisoners, military)
- vaccine failure
1st investigations to order
- salivary mumps IgM
- reverse transcriptase PCR
Investigations to consider
- CBC and differential
- serum mumps IgM
- serum mumps IgG
- serum amylase
- viral culture (CSF, saliva, or urine)
- lumbar puncture
- CT head
- Acute HIV infection
- Recommended child and adolescent immunization schedule for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2023
- Recommended adult immunization schedule for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2023
Measles, mumps, and rubella: should my child have the MMR vaccine?More Patient leaflets
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