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Mumps is caused by a virus known as myxo virus. It is transmitted mainly by infected saliva although the urine also contains virus particles. The saliva is infectious for approximately six days prior to the onset of the swelling of the glands but the peak period of infectivity is from a day or two before the onset of the swelling until very shortly after it begins.
If an adult develops mumps they should consult the doctor, especially if male and the testicles become swollen. It is not always necessary for the doctor to see a child with mumps, although you should let them know that the child has the disease.
Usually all that is required is treatment of the symptoms with paracetamol, regular rinsing of the mouth and plenty to drink. Cool compresses may be applied and can help if a male has swollen testicles.
A vaccine is available for mumps and is given to children between 12 to 15 months old, along with the vaccines for Measles and German Measles. A booster is given before the child starts school.