Complications of mumps

In children, mumps is generally a mild illness, and complications are rare. When complications develop, they may include:

  • Infection of the brain (encephalitis) and/or the membranes that cover it (meningitis).
  • Inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) or ovaries (oophoritis). Orchitis may cause sterility in extremely rare cases; oophoritis does not appear to affect long-term fertility.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • Miscarriage , which may occur in a woman who has mumps during her first 3 months of pregnancy. There does not appear to be a link between mumps and birth defects.1

Adults who are infected with mumps often have more severe symptoms and are more likely to develop complications than children. However, long-lasting problems from complications are rare.


  1. Litman N, Baum SG (2005). Mumps virus. In GL Mandell et al., eds., Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2003–2008. Philadelphia: Elsevier.

Last Updated: March 31, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Stanford T. Shulman, MD - Pediatrics

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