Mumps Home > Mumps in Children

The mumps virus causes mumps in children. The disease is relatively rare in children -- in fact, more adults are now getting it. The symptom most often associated with mumps in children -- swelling of the salivary glands -- only occurs about half the time. In many cases, the disease in children is associated with upper respiratory symptoms similar to those seen with the cold.

Mumps in Children: An Overview

Mumps is a contagious illness caused by a virus that can result in fever and swelling of the neck.
 
During the prevaccine era, nearly everyone in the United States experienced mumps, and 90 percent of cases occurred among children who were 15 years of age or younger.
 
Today, mumps is a relatively rare illness in the United States. Fewer than 300 cases of mumps were reported in 2003. Prior to the mumps vaccine being licensed in 1967, 100,000 to 200,000 mumps cases are estimated to have occurred in the United States each year. Furthermore, because of the mumps vaccine (see MMR Vaccine), mumps in children occurs less frequently than before. In fact, up to 40 percent of mumps cases are thought to now happen in adults (see Adult Mumps).
 

Cause of Mumps in Children

The cause of mumps in children (as well as in adults) is an infection with the mumps virus. The virus is an RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus from the family Paramyxovirus of the genus Rubulavirus. The mumps virus only infects humans and is found worldwide.
 
When infections with the mumps virus occur, they are more common in those living in close quarters, including:
 
  • Schools
  • Military quarters
  • Orphanages.
     
Mumps virus infections are also more common during spring, especially April and May.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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