Risks at a Glance:

  • Deafness
  • Meningitis – infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (in up to 15% of cases)
  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) which can lead to convulsions, brain damage or death
  • Oophoritis – (swollen ovaries) females who get mumps after puberty may experience swelling of the ovaries
  • Orchitis – inflammation of one or both testicles which can cause infertility in males

About the disease:
Mumps is an infection caused by a virus that affects the salivary glands. The first symptoms that appear are usually vague like headache, feeling unwell, and fever. Within a day swelling of the salivary glands starts to show.

How it is spread:
Mumps is spread by direct contact or by airborne droplets from coughing and sneezing.

There is no cure for mumps but things like bed rest, over-the-counter painkillers, and applying a warm or cool compress to your swollen glands can help reduce pain. You will probably need to eat foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.

Impact of mumps:
Where there are mumps containing vaccinations in use, mumps is uncommon. There have been small outbreaks recently but no reported deaths.

One dose of the mumps vaccine is is around 78% effective at protecting against mumps. Two doses of the vaccine are around 88% effective.

Child with mumps