Complications of mumps are potentially serious, but rare.
Most mumps complications involve inflammation and swelling in some part of the body, such as:
- Testicles. This condition, known as orchitis, causes one or both testicles to swell in males who've reached puberty. Orchitis is painful, but it rarely leads to sterility — the inability to father a child.
- Pancreas. The signs and symptoms of this condition, known as pancreatitis, include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.
- Ovaries and breasts. Females who've reached puberty may have inflammation in the ovaries (oophoritis) or breasts (mastitis). Fertility is rarely affected.
- Brain. A viral infection, such as mumps, can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis can lead to neurological problems and become life-threatening.
- Membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This condition, known as meningitis, can occur if the mumps virus spreads through your bloodstream to infect your central nervous system.
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- Hearing loss. In rare cases, mumps can cause hearing loss, usually permanent, in one or both ears.
- Miscarriage. Although it isn't proved, contracting mumps while you're pregnant, especially early on, may lead to miscarriage.
- Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/mumps. Accessed June 26, 2012.
- Mumps. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/topics/mumps/en/. Accessed June 26, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9124557. Accessed June 26, 2012.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=17051. Accessed June 26, 2012.
- Kutty PK, et al. Guidance for isolation precautions for mumps in the United States: A review of the scientific basis for policy change. Clinical Infectious Disease. 2010;50:1619.
- Mumps vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/mumps/default.htm#notvacc. Accessed June 28, 2012.