Mumps virus, computer illustration. A mumps virus particle contains ribonucleic acid (RNA) enclosed in a spherical protein shell, or capsid. The shell is covered in surface proteins haemagglutinin-neuraminidase and fusion protein shown in illustration, which are used to attach to and penetrate a host cell. Once inside a cell, the virus particles (virions) use the cell machinery to make more copies of themselves. Mumps virus is a contagious paramyxovirus, causing swelling of the parotid salivary glands, fever, headache and vomiting. Infection can spread to the pancreas, brain and testicles. In adult males, infection can cause sterility.
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