Like measles, mumps is caused by a paramyxovirus, and it is only a disease of humans. The word "mumps" may relate to an old English term meaning grimace or mumble.
Mumps was first described by Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.) in his book “Epidemics”, where he noted the presence of swelling around the ears and painful swelling of the testes. Central nervous system involvement was published by R Hamilton in 1790 in Scotland.
Being less contagious than measles, an infected individual may still transmit mumps to 10-12 susceptible persons from 3-4 days before onset until 2 days after the onset of symptoms.
Several live virus strains were developed as vaccine strains. Jeryl Lynn and its derivative RIT-4385 are in wide use in industrialized countries, L-Zagreb in the non-industrialized world.
As the interpretation of serological data is not well understood the clinical value of mumps vaccines is evaluated on the basis of impact data only.