The mumps virus is spread in saliva and in minute airborne
droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people.
The virus that most commonly causes mumps is a
paramyxovirus. Other causes of viral parotitis (swelling of the
parotid glands) include the influenza and Coxsackie viruses.
These may be responsible for recurrent mumps.
|Lack of immunization is the main factor that puts people at
risk of having mumps. Some adults may not be immune, as
they were not vaccinated as a child, and people with immune
systems that do not work properly may also be at risk.
Mumps is usually diagnosed from the person’s symptoms, in
particular from the swelling around the parotid glands.
Your GP will be able to see and feel this swelling, and by
looking inside the mouth he or she may be able to see that
the tonsils have been pushed out of their usual position.
People with mumps may also have a raised temperature (100
To confirm the diagnosis, particularly in a case where
symptoms are severe or there are complications, a blood,
urine or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) test can be used. The CSF
test or spinal tap involves taking a sample of the fluid that
runs through the spine.
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