Viral parotitis


  • Acute infection of the parotid glands
  • Most often caused by paramyxoviruses (e.g. mumps), but should consider influenza[1]; less commonly by parainfluenza, coxsackie, echo, HIV
  • Most common in children <15yrs
  • Contagious for 9 days after onset of parotid swelling


Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Bilateral Parotitis

Facial Swelling


  • Generally a clinical diagnosis
  • May confirm diagnosis with mumps immunoglobulin (IgM and IgG) or PCR (may also be needed by local health department for reporting)
  • Testicular ultrasound if concern for orchitis
  • [[Lumbar puncture if concern for associated meningitis/encephalitis


  • Supportive care is the mainstay of treatment


  • Isolated parotitis or orchitis: manage as outpatient
  • Systemic complications: admit
  • Report to local health department (nationally reportable disease)

See Also




  1. Rolfes, Melissa A, et al. “Influenza-Associated Parotitis During the 2014–2015 Influenza Season in the United States.” Clinical Infectious Diseases, vol. 67, no. 4, 2018, pp. 485–492., doi:10.1093/cid/ciy136.
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