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Disease Information / Mumps


What is it

Mumps is caused by a virus that affects the glands and nervous system. It is considered a benign childhood disease, but it can result in severe complications. Mumps is usually more severe in people infected after puberty.1

Who is at risk and what are the symptoms

Children aged between five and nine are most at risk of catching mumps. Symptoms begin with fever and a general feeling of being unwell, followed by swelling of the salivary glands. Mumps can lead to complications, including meningitis and deafness. The disease can also lead to serious infection of other glands and body parts, including testis, ovaries, pancreas, liver, brain and heart.1

How is it spread

Mumps is spread through air droplets or direct contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected person.1

How is it prevented

Mumps is a vaccine preventable disease. In Australia, immunisation against mumps is recommended for children aged 12 months, with a second dose at 18 months. It is often incorporated with the measles and rubella vaccines. Those children who didn't receive their second vaccination at the age of 18 months will need to be vaccinated at the age of four years.2

How is it diagnosed and treated

Mumps is often diagnosed by a General Practitioner (GP) based on symptoms alone. In some instances, a blood test or a sample from the throat, urine or spinal cord fluid is taken to confirm diagnosis.1

Where to get help

Urgent medical advice from your GP is recommended for the onset of mumps-like symptoms. For further information on mumps vaccination speak with your healthcare professional.


  1. NSW Health:
  2. Immunise Australia: mumps