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date: 26 November 2020

Mumps is caused by a paramyxovirus that typically infects salivary glands but which can cause meningitis, orchitis, pancreatitis, and other clinical manifestations. The incubation period is 2–3 weeks. Although not highly contagious, the virus is excreted in saliva 2 days before symptoms and about 5 days afterwards, and does spread by respiratory secretions. Specific diagnosis can be made by polymerase chain reaction or virus isolation. Serologic methods are useful if acute and convalescent specimens are available, and demonstration of immunoglobulin M antibodies is helpful but insensitive. Neutralizing antibodies are considered protective, but strain variation makes definition of the level needed uncertain. Prophylaxis consists of vaccination with one or another live attenuated strains, usually in combination with measles and rubella live vaccines. Two doses are considered necessary as part of primary immunization, but immune memory is not as consistent as after measles and rubella vaccines, and therefore many outbreaks have occurred in vaccinated populations, often those in which individuals are in close contact. There is some evidence that a third dose will stop outbreaks in those populations. Only symptomatic treatment is available.

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