Long-Term Side Effects of Mumps

Mumps is an infectious disease that can be prevented by vaccination. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children receive their first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine between the ages of 12 and 15 months and a second dose between ages 4 and 6. The symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite and inflammation and tenderness of one or both salivary glands. The more serious and long-term side effects are described below.

A Mother looking after her sick son. (Image: Sean Prior/Hemera/Getty Images)

Deafness

Deafness can result from infection damaging the nerves of the inner ear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deafness occurs in 0.5 to 5.0 per 100,000 cases. The Mayo Clinic reports that deafness can occur in one or both ears and is usually permanent.

Meningoencephalitis

Meningoencephalitis is an infection that resembles encephalitis (infection of the brain) and meningitis (infection of the meninges, which protect the brain and spinal cord). It can cause permanent paralysis, seizures, cranial nerve paralysis (paralysis of the facial nerves) and hydrocephalus (water on the brain). According to the CDC, less than 10 percent of patients who have mumps develop encephalitis or meningitis.

Other Complications

Mumps not only has long-term effects, but also some serious complications. The following are not long-term complications of mumps.

One of these is pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include upper abdomen pain, nausea and vomiting. A patient could also have orchitis, which is an inflammation of the testicles (one or both testes) that occurs in 30 to 40 percent of adolescent and adult males with mumps, according to the CDC. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, fever and chills. Orchitis does not result in infertility for adolescents or adult men.

Females could suffer from oophoritis and/or mastitis. This is an inflammation of the ovaries and the CDC reports that oophoritis occurs in 5 percent of adolescents and adult women. Symptoms include pelvic pain and tenderness. Mastitis, which is an infection of the breast tissue, can also occur with mumps. According to the CDC, mastitis has been reported in 31 percent of females older than 15 who have mumps. Symptoms include pain, inflammation and redness of the breast. Oophoritis and/or mastitis does not result in infertility in adolescents or adult women. The Mayo Clinic also reports that women who contract the mumps during the early stages of pregnancy can have a miscarriage.

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