Mumps caused by paramyxovirus is the most common viral
infection, usually involving the parotid gland. This is a RNA
virus transmitted by airborne droplets.
After an incubation period of 2–3 weeks,
low-grade fever, malaise, and anorexia
occur. This is then followed by parotitis, which is usually
bilateral. Enlargement of the gland can be differentiated
from cervical lymphadenopathy by outward displacement of
the lobule of the pinna.
Spontaneous resolution is the norm,
but this can take a few weeks. Mumps can be
associated with other serious complications such as
sensorineural hearing loss, aseptic meningitis, orchitis, and
The clinical presentation should suggest the
diagnosis. Serological tests to identify antibody to mumpsspecific
IgM will confirm a recent infection.
Treatment involves supportive care and recognizing the possible
complications, which often need medical input. Use of the
live attenuated MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella)
vaccine has led to a decrease in the incidence of this disease.