Mumps is a contagious viral illness that causes fever and swelling of the salivary glands.
The symptoms usually start 16 to 18 days after a person has been exposed to the mumps virus, but can start anywhere from 12 to 25 days after exposure. Early symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, often followed by onset of parotitis (swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears, on one or both sides). Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms.
Severe complications from mumps are rare. Complications can include painful, swollen testicles in males who have reached puberty and painful, swollen breasts in women. Aseptic meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) can occur. Mumps can sometimes lead to inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis), miscarriage in early pregnancy, and very rarely to deafness or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).