Mumps

Mumps is a highly contagious, viral infectious disease.

Overview

Mumps is a highly contagious, viral infectious disease. Nowadays, it mainly affects unvaccinated or insufficiently vaccinated children/young people between the ages of 2 and 15. Typical symptoms include the painful and visible swelling of the salivary glands near the ears (parotid glands), fever and impaired general health. Patients with mumps should stay in bed. Preventive vaccination is recommended.

Symptoms

  • Time from infection to the development of symptoms (incubation period): 12-25 days
  • 30-50% of affected people are asymptomatic (“silent disease”) or only have the symptoms of a cold
  • Initially, throat and ear pain and headaches can occur
  • Fever, impaired general health
  • Painful swelling of the parotid glands
    • Sometimes, puffy ear
  • Pain when swallowing and chewing, loss of appetite

Course

  • Mumps infection without complications: heals on its own within 1 to 2 weeks
  • Usually, lifelong immunity to the disease afterwards

Complications

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Pathogen: Paramyxovirus
  • Transmission: droplet infection (coughing, sneezing, saliva)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests:
  • Physical examination
  • Blood test
  • Throat swab to identify virus
  • Further examinations, depending on the type of complication
Possible therapies
  • Symptom relief (see next chapter)

What can I do myself?

  • Bed rest
  • Put cool compresses on swollen parotid glands
  • Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen (read the package insert)
  • Fever: drink plenty of fluids
  • Gargle with disinfectant mouthwash
  • If testicles are affected: cool and elevate the testicles
  • Prevention:
    • Vaccination in accordance with Swiss Vaccination Schedule (children and yourself)
    • If unvaccinated and no previous infection: stay away from patients
    • Isolation serves little purpose, as infection can already be passed on during the incubation period

When to see a doctor?

  • High fever for several days
  • Symptoms don’t improve after 5 days
  • Mumps infection during pregnancy
  • Complications are suspected: painful testicles, abdominal pain, disorientation, headache, stiff neck, joint pain, hearing problems, deafness

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en

Synonyms

mumps, epidemic parotitis

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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