Mumps is an acute illness caused by the mumps virus. It is characterised by fever and swelling of one or more salivary glands (mumps is the only cause of epidemic infectious parotitis).
Humans are the only reservoirs of the virus, which is transmitted from person to person via droplets and/or saliva. Following infection, the incubation period lasts on average 16–18 days. Salivary glands apart, other organs may be involved and symptoms might include infection in the testicles (in post-pubertal males), prostate gland, thyroid gland, and pancreas. Brain involvement is frequent, but mostly without symptoms. Brain infection is believed to occur in only one in 10 000 cases, but it often leads to death.
Mumps is preventable by a vaccine, which is most often administered in association with anti-rubella and anti-measles vaccines (MMR).
Read more about mumps in the factsheet for general public and factsheet for health professionals.