Comparing risks - Mumps

Mumps is usually a mild disease in children and is less contagious than measles. However, serious complications can occur.

Common symptoms of mumps

These are usually mild symptoms and include fever, mild headaches, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, painful and swollen glands in the cheeks, neck or under the jaw in 7 out of 10 people. These symptoms usually go away within 10 days or so, if there is no serious complication.

Complications of mumps

These are usually serious conditions and include inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), partial or complete deafness and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), which could result in hospitalisation. Complications are more serious after puberty. Boys (after puberty) and men may experience painful, swollen testicles, which very rarely causes infertility. Mumps may cause spontaneous miscarriage during the 1st three months of pregnancy. Mumps is the commonest cause of meningitis in the UK.

The table below compares the potential problems caused by mumps with the potential problems caused by the MMR vaccine.

Green - Common, usually mild symptoms that can be treated at home.

Yellow - Moderate complications that need medical attention but may not include hospitalisation.

Red - Serious complications that need urgent medical attention and could include hospitalisation.

Potential risks in a group of 100 children under 5 years of age and adolescents who get mumps

 mumps_no_vaccine.gif

1/3 of children will have no symptoms. Most children will have the common and usually mild (in green) symptoms of mumps e.g. fever, tiredness, runny nose, loss of appetite, general aches and pains.76 in 100 children may have swollen cheeks or swelling under the jaw.

 

 

Potential risks in a group of 100 children who have the MMR vaccine

 mumps_mmr.gif

Most will have common and usually mild (in green) symptoms of the MMR vaccine e.g. pain or swelling at the injection site, joint pain and stiffness. Some may have more than one of these symptoms at the same time.

 

Some may have more than one of these symptoms listed above at the same time 
(in yellow)

 

14 in 100 may have moderate 
(in yellow) symptoms
- 4 may have high fever
- 4 may be irritable
- 1 may have swelling of salivary glands
- 5 may have a non-infectious faint red rash

16 in 100 may have serious (in red)symptoms 
- 4 may have inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis) causing pain and vomiting.
- 8 may have mild and temporary inflammation of the lining of the brain (aseptic meningitis)
- 4 may have temporary hearing loss

 

Rare complications

3 in 1,000 children may have inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis from any reason may result in children surviving with permanent brain damage or death

 

Rare complications

25 to 34 in 100,000 children may have fever-induced fits or convulsions

1 in 20,000 children may have permanent deafness, usually on one side

 

1 in 1 million children may have inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis from any reason may result in children surviving with permanent brain damage or death

 


Up to 4 in 1 million children may get a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis from any reason, may result in death

 


4 in 100,000 children may have a temporary tendency for bruising or bleeding (thrombocytopenia)

 

Copyright University of Leeds and NCIRS 2009 - Last updated 14 June 2013

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