Mumps is a viral infection and contagious disease caused by a virus. It primarily affects the parotid glands located below and in front of the ears. Some symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, and fatigue. Later, the infection can lead to the swelling of one or both of the parotid glands. Often, exposure to the virus may not result in any symptoms. In severe cases, it can cause other complications including infection to the covering of the brain, pancreatitis, deafness, and testicular or ovarian swelling.
Once infected, the incubation period is 16-18 days. It typically resolves after seven to ten days from when symptoms begin. Outbreaks were common until the mumps vaccine became commercially available in the 1960s. As of today, there is no cure for the mumps. The best way to keep mumps at bay is by getting children vaccinated. Children require two doses for long-term prevention. The first dose occurs between 12-18 months of age, and the second occurs between two and six years of age.