International travel and health



Mumps virus, genus Rubulavirus, family Paramyxoviridae.


Humans are the only known natural host for mumps virus, which is spread via direct contact or by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract of infected individuals.

Nature of the disease

Mumps (parotitis epidemica) is a viral infection of humans, primarily affecting the salivary glands. Although it is mostly a mild childhood disease, with peak incidence occurring among those aged 5–9 years, the mumps virus may also affect adults, in whom complications such as meningitis and orchitis are relatively more common. Encephalitis and permanent neurological sequelae are rare complications.

Geographical distribution

Except in countries with high coverage of mumps-containing vaccines, the annual mumps incidence in most parts of the world is in the range 100–1000 per 100 000 population, with epidemic peaks every 2–5 years.

Risk for travellers

Travellers who are not fully immunized against mumps are at risk.