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17 June 2016

Causative agent

It is caused by the Mumps virus which affects the salivary glands and nerve tissues sometimes.

Clinical features

All ages may be affected although more common in children over 1 year. It is characterised by painful swelling of the salivary glands, usually at the cheek(s). Sometimes, there may be complications like deafness, or infection of brain, pancreas, testicles or ovary.

Mode of transmission

It is spread by droplet and by direct contact with the saliva of an infected person. A patient can spread the disease to other non-immune persons from 2 days before overt swelling of salivary glands to 5 days after the swelling.

Incubation period

It ranges from 12 – 25 days, usually 18 days.


There is no specific treatment but drugs may be prescribed to reduce discomfort.


  1. Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
  2. Keep hands clean and wash hands properly.
  3. Wash hands when they are dirtied by respiratory secretions e.g. after sneezing.
  4. Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of nasal and mouth discharge properly.
  5. Cleanse used toys and furniture properly.
  6. Affected children are advised to stay away from school for 5 days from the onset of swelling to prevent the spread of the disease.
  7. An effective vaccine against mumps is available. Under the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme, children are given mumps-containing vaccine at 1 year old and in Primary 1 (Please refer to the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme).
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