International travel and health

Mumps

Cause

Mumps virus of the genus Rubulavirus of the family Paramyxoviridae.

Transmission

Humans are the only known natural host for mumps virus, which is spread via direct contact or by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract of infected individuals.

Nature of the disease

Mumps (parotitis epidemica) is a viral infection of humans, primarily affecting the salivary glands. Although it is mostly a mild childhood disease, with peak incidence occurring among those aged 5–9 years, the mumps virus may also affect adults, among whom complications such as meningitis and orchitis are relatively more common. Encephalitis and permanent neurological sequelae are rare complications.

Disease burden

In most areas, annual mumps incidence is in the range of 100–1000 per 100 000 population, with epidemic peaks every 2–5 years. Natural infection with mumps virus is thought to confer lifelong protection.

Risk for travellers

Travellers who are not fully immunized against mumps are at risk.

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