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What is mumps?

Mumps is a contagious viral infection that causes painful, swollen salivary glands. It is transmitted by breathing contaminated air or by touching contaminated objects. Mumps usually is not a serious disease, but its complications can cause inflammation in the testes, the brain, the covering of the brain (meningitis), the pancreas, and the kidneys.

Mumps is a viral disease also known as epidemic parotitis. It swells the parotid glands, which are salivary glands found just beneath the ears. Mumps can cause serious complications, but is preventable by vaccine. Because outbreaks of this contagious illness still occur, vaccines are routinely given in the United States.

Continue Learning about Mumps

How long does mumps last?
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The symptoms of mumps usually begin two or three weeks after you are exposed to the virus. Sympt...
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Should I tell my child's school about their mumps?
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Mumps is a very contagious viral disease. Most children are vaccinated against mumps in infancy, but...
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What does abdominal pain mean if I have mumps?
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If my child has mumps, when should I call the doctor?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.