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Mumps is an acute infectious disease caused by the mumps virus. The disease is characterized by swelling of one or more salivary glands, usually the parotid glands. Usually mild, however, the infection can lead to complications, such as viral meningitis, orchitis or oophoritis.

Once a common childhood infection, mumps has become a relatively rare disease with the establishment of routine immunization programs in Canada. Mumps outbreaks still occur across the country, and the proportion of cases occurring in young adults is on the rise.

The incubation period lasts an average of 16 to 18 days, but it can vary from 12 to 25 days. Mumps is most often characterized by unilateral or bilateral parotitis (in 30-40% of patients), preceded by fever, headache, malaise, myalgia or anorexia.

Systemic symptoms usually go away after three to five days, and parotid swelling goes away within seven to ten days. About 20% of infections are asymptomatic, and 40-50% of cases show nonspecific or respiratory symptoms.

Source: Health Canada