|Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid salivary glands. These glands are located just below and in front of the ears. They produce saliva, which drains into the mouth and helps to break up and digest food. Mumps is caused by a contagious virus, which is transmitted through airborne droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people. It takes 14 and 21 days for the symptoms of mumps to develop, after coming into contact with someone who has the virus. Mumps is normally a mild illness, but in a minority of cases there can be severe complications, such as deafness and meningitis.