Mumps, parotitis epidemica or goat peter is an infectious disease caused by viruses. Along with measles and rubella, it is a common and typical childhood disease. It is highly contagious and should be checked out by a doctor immediately. Vaccination against mumps is highly advisable.


What is mumps?

Mumps Ziegenpeter, or parotitis epidemica, is a viral disease that manifests itself primarily in the form of painful swellings on and under the ears and a high fever.

Rarely, the disease also affects other organs, such as the testicles, pancreas, brain or heart. See electronicsmatter for Arteriovenous Malformation Definition.

Like many other childhood diseases, mumps is notifiable and should therefore be examined by a doctor.


The main cause of mumps is the so-called mumps virus. This infection, which can only occur in humans, is a typical childhood disease. Mumps is transmitted via droplet infection. Typical forms of transmission are coughing, sneezing, kissing and direct physical contact. Drinking from an infected bottle or using cutlery with the mumps virus can also be contagious.

The incubation period, i.e. the time from infection to the outbreak of the disease, is around three to seven days. After that, the first symptoms appear. The swelling of the salivary glands is clearly visible due to their size. Anyone who has ever had mumps is immune to it for life.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

In about 30 to 40 percent of cases, mumps (parotitis epidemica) is asymptomatic. However, they are carriers of the disease and can therefore infect other people. The most common symptoms of mumps are fever, as well as painful swelling of the parotid glands, which manifests itself in the characteristic hamster cheeks and can cause pain when chewing.

The swelling usually develops after one to two days and is usually bilateral (about 70 to 80 percent of sufferers). In some cases, other salivary glands and the lymph nodes near the ears can also be affected. Other symptoms that occur particularly in the early stages of the disease are loss of appetite, malaise, headaches and body aches.

In children, the symptoms are usually less pronounced than in adults. Mumps can lead to various secondary diseases in the further course. These include, in particular, meningitis (inflammation of the meninges), meningoencephalitis (inflammation of the brain), hearing impairment through to deafness, as well as inflammation of the testicles in adolescents and adults, which can lead to infertility in 13 percent of cases. In rare cases, inflammation of the pancreas, ovaries, thyroid, joints and mammary glands can also occur.

Course of the disease

Mumps usually develops without complications. In most cases, the symptoms disappear on their own after about one to two weeks. Meningitis is often associated with mumps disease . However, this is quickly treated under medical treatment.

Complications from mumps are rare. Only rarely does the combination of mumps and meningitis cause inflammation that can lead to lifelong hearing loss. Nevertheless, under certain circumstances, untreated mumps disease in men can lead to testicular inflammation and thus infertility.

Pregnant women who have mumps can potentially miscarry. Therefore, medical help should be sought as soon as possible, especially if you are pregnant.


The most common complication in children with mumps is nonsuppurative meningitis, which occurs in five to fifteen percent of cases. The main symptoms are neck pain and headaches. It is usually not possible for those affected to place their chin on their chest. As the disease progresses, vomiting, dizziness and paralysis occur.

Meningitis can also occur if the patient has previously been treated by a doctor. Another very rare side effect is deafness in one or both ears. This often only occurs in the form of hearing loss, which is why a preventive examination is recommended. Orchitis can occur in male patients if the mumps also affects the testicles.

This leads to a renewed increase in fever and painful swelling of the affected testicles. There is a risk of infertility as a late consequence, but this occurs only very rarely. In women, the ovaries can become inflamed about five percent of the time, with symptoms such as pelvic pain and fever.

Inflammation of the pancreas, also known as pancreatitis, is also possible. Pregnant women affected by mumps have an increased risk of miscarriage. If the unborn child survives, no permanent damage has been proven.

When should you go to the doctor?

To protect against mumps, infants should be vaccinated at an early stage. Since the disease is very contagious, contact with other children can otherwise quickly lead to an outbreak of the disease. If a case of mumps becomes known in the immediate vicinity of the person concerned, a doctor should always be consulted as a precautionary measure.

A doctor should be consulted if the person affected has fever, pain or behavioral problems. Headaches and body aches are signs of an irregularity that should be investigated and clarified. Swelling on the face is characteristic of mumps. If hamster cheeks or a sudden plump change in the shape of the face are noticed, a doctor’s visit is necessary. If the swelling increases in size within a short period of time, there is an acute need for action. A general malaise, apathy or refusal to eat are other signs of health impairment. If hearing loss or deafness occurs, a doctor is required. A doctor should be consulted in the event of inflammation, changes in the skin’s appearance and problems with chewing. Dizziness,

Mumps is a childhood disease that typically occurs in the first few years of life when there is no vaccination. Since the disease can also break out in adults, they too should consult a doctor if irregularities and symptoms appear.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of mumps focuses mainly on the therapy and diagnosis of the parotid gland swelling (parotitis), which is also popularly known as so-called hamster cheeks. Other examination options are: blood test, urine test, throat swab, saliva test and possibly also tissue samples.

So far, there are no specialized forms of treatment or medication for mumps, although this is often not necessary. Treatment by the doctor is usually limited to alleviating the symptoms of the disease. Above all, painkillers and fever-reducing drugs are part of the standard therapy for mumps or goat Peter. If the mumps disease is coupled with meningitis , further examination and treatment in the hospital is usually necessary.

The sufferer should adhere to strict bed rest himself. You should also ensure that no other people are infected with the mumps virus. Furthermore, the patient should drink a lot to compensate for the fluid loss caused by the fever. Cool compresses to the affected areas is just as beneficial. The diet during the illness period should consist more of pulpy food. Foods that unnecessarily burden the pancreas with their acids should be avoided. Good oral hygiene should also be observed.

Outlook & Forecast

In the case of an infection with mumps, the prognosis depends largely on the age of the infected person. While infections in children under the age of two are often largely asymptomatic, the frequency of complications increases sharply with age. Overall, men are more likely to suffer from complications than women. Occasionally vaccinated people can also be infected with mumps. As a rule, the course of the disease is weakened.

The most common complications in men are inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) and the associated temporary extensive sterility. However, permanent sterility is rare. The testicular inflammation lasts for up to ten days, after which the sperm count and quality slowly return to normal. A frequent complication in women is breast inflammation (mastitis), which usually heals on its own without any consequences. Inflammation of the ovaries also occurs less frequently.

Inflammation of the pancreas can occur in both sexes. The central nervous system is very often affected in both sexes, but mostly without specific symptoms. Even with encephalitis, which occurs in less than 1% of mumps cases, the prognosis is favorable. Of those affected, around 98.5% survive. Rarely, however, permanent deafness can occur. In general, in most cases, a mumps infection is symptomatically over within five to ten days. Permanent damage can occur but is very rare.


The best prevention against mumps is vaccination. Babies and toddlers are usually vaccinated against the typical childhood diseases as early as 11 months of age. These include measles, mumps and rubella. A booster vaccination is then carried out again in the 6th year of life. After that, the children are immune for years. Vaccination in adulthood is of course still possible.


Mumps follow-up ensures that the virus is no longer present in the body. The doctor first takes an anamnesis and clarifies any symptoms the patient may have as well as their general condition. A physical examination will then take place. An examination of the parotid gland is used to determine whether the disease has resolved.

The upper abdomen and meninges are also examined if there is a suspicion that the disease has been spread. If the doctor finds no abnormalities, the treatment is completed after the aftercare. Further follow-up examinations are not necessary if the course is positive. If applicable, the relevant authority must be informed of the recovery as mumps is a reportable disease.

Affected people should rest for a week or two after recovery. The doctor specifies precise measures with which the mumps can be completely cured. If symptoms persist, treatment is resumed. In this case, follow-up care must be interrupted. Mumps follow-up is usually one to two weeks after the first doctor’s visit, provided the disease has subsided as desired and no other symptoms or symptoms occur.

You can do that yourself

If the child shows signs of mumps, the pediatrician should be consulted first. The typical symptoms can be alleviated by various home remedies. Calf wraps or cooling pads with quark or yoghurt help with fever. The so-called vinegar socks also help – socks soaked in vinegar essence and cold water, which are pulled over the feet. Swelling of the glands is also counteracted with compresses. Healing earth from the pharmacy can also be used to reduce swelling and pain. Warm oil wraps and bed rest also help with swollen parotid glands.

Assuming sufficient rest and warmth in the bed, mumps usually subsides quickly. Parents should make sure that the child does not stay outdoors for too long and is also not exposed to stress. Should complications nevertheless arise, the child is best taken to the pediatrician, who can examine the patient again and, if necessary, initiate further treatment measures.

Due to the high risk of infection, sick children should not come into contact with healthy children. In addition to these measures, the child must be vaccinated against mumps. Vaccination can reliably prevent re-infection. Since the disease can cause complications with increasing age, the vaccination should be repeated regularly.