Skip to main content
Disease

Mumps

Page last updated on 09 November 2018

In 2017, Australia saw the largest number of cases of mumps reported since mumps became a notifiable disease across all states and territories in 2001.

Mumps, as the name suggests, causes swelling of the (parotid) glands on the face, which are found on either side of the mouth and in front of both ears. Although the viral infection mainly occurs in children, when it is contracted by adults it can be more severe.

Vaccination remains one of the most effective ways to prevent mumps. In Australia there are two types of combination mumps vaccines available:

  • Measles, mumps & rubella (MMR) 
  • Measles, mumps, rubella & varicella (MMRV)

The vaccination is provided free to children as part of the National Immunisation Program. In addition, it is recommended that any adolescent or adult who was not vaccinated as a child or has not had the illness should also undergo vaccination.

For further information regarding vaccination against mumps, speak with your healthcare professional.
 

Key disease information

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a very contagious viral infection.

The mumps virus is spread by coughing or sneezing and through saliva. Symptoms are generally mild and can include feeling tired, fever, headache and the classic symptom of swollen salivary glands. Rare complications of infection may occur.  

Mumps was traditionally a common childhood infection. In Australia, the disease is uncommon in children due to routine vaccination. Cases are still reported worldwide, with recent outbreaks in Australia. High rates now occur in adolescents and adults. 

Like measles, there is no specific treatment for mumps, but bed rest, fluids, and paracetamol may help; and infected persons should remain isolated to decrease the risk of spreading the virus.
 

What are the symptoms of mumps?

The most noticeable symptom of mumps is the swelling of the (parotid) glands, which are found in the cheeks and just below the ears. 

Other symptoms include:  

  • fever
  • fatigue 
  • headache
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • swelling of the face & gland 
  • painful chewing or swallowing

In about 33% of people infected with mumps will show no symptoms and may not even know they have the infection.

What does it look like when you have mumps?

Mumps, as the name suggests, causes swelling of the parotid glands. These glands are found in the cheeks and just below the ears. The swelling of these glands causes immense pain. 

Symptoms occur between 14-25 days following infection. 

Is there a mumps vaccination?

Yes. 

In Australia, immunisation against mumps is provided as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

  • Children at 12 months – the first dose of mumps vaccine is given in combination with measles and rubella (as MMR vaccine)
  • Children at 18 months – the second dose of mumps vaccine is given in combination with measles, rubella and varicella (chickenpox)

All children under 10 years of age can receive the free NIP vaccines.

  • Children at 12 months – the first dose of mumps vaccine is given as the MMR combination vaccine.
  • Children at 18 months of age – the second dose of mumps vaccine is given as the MMRV combination vaccine.
  • All children under 10 years of age can receive the free vaccines as listed on the NIP.

If you were born during or after 1966 and do not have evidence of having received 2 doses of a mumps-containing vaccine, you may no longer have immunity against the disease and may need an additional dose vaccination.

For further information regarding vaccination against mumps, speak with your healthcare professional.

How do you get rid of mumps?

There is no specific treatment for mumps. The best protection against the disease is vaccination. 

If you do have symptoms of mumps visit your GP for further analysis. They may be able to diagnose you on your symptoms alone, or can request a blood test for confirmation. You may treat your symptoms with bed rest, consistent intake of fluids, and paracetamol.

How long does it take to recover from mumps?

Generally, people recover from the symptoms of mumps within a few weeks.

If left untreated, complications can occur due to the inflammation caused by mumps spreading to other areas of the body:

  • encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
  • meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain), 
  • hearing loss
  • miscarriage of an unborn child
  • inflammation (swelling) of the testicles (orchitis), ovaries (oophoritis) or breasts (mastitis)
  • Male infertility (possible but extremely rare).
     

VaccineHub offers general information only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice

Find a doctor near you

Sources & Citations

  1. The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition. 4.11 Mumps. Available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-11 (accessed 4 April 2018).
  2. NSW Government. Department of Health. Mumps Fact Sheet. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/mumps.aspx (accessed 4 April 2018).
  3. Victorian Government. Better Health Channel. Mumps. Available at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/mumps (accessed 4 April 2018).
  4. Centers for Disease Control. Mumps Home. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/index.html (accessed 4 April 2018).
  5. Centers for Disease Control. Signs and Symptoms of Mumps. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/about/signs-symptoms.html (accessed 4 April 2018).
  6. Centers for Disease Control. Photos of Mumps. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/mumps/about/photos.html (accessed 4 April 2018).
  7. Mayo Clinic. Mumps Signs and Symptoms. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mumps/symptoms-causes/syc-20375361 (accessed 4 April 2018).
  8. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Australian Government, Department of Health. Available at https://beta.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule (accessed 4 April 2018).
  9. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Notafiable Diseases Surveillance System. Number of notifications for all diseases by year, Australia, 1991 to 2017 and year-to-date notifications for 2018. Available at: http://www9.health.gov.au/cda/source/rpt_2.cfm (accessed 3 May 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0135 - Date of preparation May 2018

Related