Mumps is a highly contagious infection spread by a paramyxovirus.
The virus can travel in the air through coughs and sneezes, it may be on surfaces people touch, such as door handles or it can be picked-up from cups, cutlery, bowls or plates.
The most common symptom of mumps is swollen salivary glands (parotid) glands in the neck, sometimes referred to as a ‘hamster face’ appearance. The swelling can be on one or both sides of the neck.
Mumps can be prevented in 95% of cases by having the routine MMR vaccination in childhood or later in life.
Cases of mumps have been rising. There were 4,035 confirmed cases of mumps in England and Wales in 2013, compared to 2,564 in 2012.