Mumps is a disease, usually of children, caused by a virus. With mumps, your salivary glands swell. Specifically, these are the parotid glands, and they are located below and in front of each ear.
The virus is spread by direct contact with an infected person's sneeze or cough. Humans are the only known natural hosts. The disease is more severe if you get it as an adult.
With nearly universal immunization in childhood, there are fewer than 1,000 cases of mumps per year. Most of the reported cases are in children 5-14 years of age. The infection is more common during late winter and spring.
Mumps is mainly caused by a virus. The incubation period (from initial infection to symptoms) is from 16-18 days, ranging from 12-25 days after exposure. The period when someone is most infectious to others is from one to two days before and five days after the onset of swelling in the glands.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2014
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