Zoom in on microorganisms

Germs that infect humans



© Robert Alain, SME, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier

Microorganism: the mumps virus is part of the Paramyxoviridae family.

Disease: mumps

Occurrence of the disease

History: vaccination against mumps started in 1967

Current situation: 3,000 cases of mumps are reported in the United States each year. Lately there has been an increase in this disease affecting those children who have not been vaccinated. In 1998, 117 cases of mumps were reported in Canada.

Mechanism of action of the microorganism: the virus first multiplies in the respiratory system and then circulates in the blood throughout the organism.

Symptoms of the disease: the most important symptoms are swelling and pain in the salivary glands. A mild fever occurs. In certain cases, complications of mumps can include meningitis or an inflammation of the testicles.

Incubation period: 14 to 25 days

Contagious period: the contagious period lasts from five to seven days before and up to nine days after the appearance of the disease.

Hosts: humans

Transmission: the virus is spread through the saliva of infected individuals, and enters through the respiratory system. This disease is very contagious.

Treatment: none

Geographical distribution of the microorganism: worldwide, but absent in restricted populations such as isolated tribes.

Prevention: vaccine

Vaccine: the vaccination against mumps is combined with the vaccines against measles and rubella in a vaccine called MMR. Two injections are necessary in children aged 12 and 18 months. This vaccination is 99% effective in people who have had both doses.