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J Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Dec;41(12):631-4.

Recurrent parotitis of childhood.

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Department of Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, New South Wales, Australia.



Recurrent parotitis (RP) of childhood is a rare condition of unknown aetiology, probably immunologically mediated.


To review the clinical presentation, diagnosis and management of RP of childhood.


Retrospective study from 1983 to 2004 of children diagnosed with RP of childhood at a tertiary children's hospital.


We identified 53 children, 37 (70%) male and 16 (30%) female. The age of onset was biphasic, with peaks at 2-5 years of age and at 10 years. The commonest symptoms were swelling (100%), pain (92.5%) and fever (41.5%). Symptoms usually lasted 2-7 days with a median of 3 days. The mean frequency was 8 episodes per year. The diagnosis was often delayed, >1 year in 70% of patients, maximum 8 years. The most common diagnoses, before the definitive diagnosis of RP, were mumps (21%), 'infection' (15%) and stones (11%). Sialogram (57%) and/or ultrasound (41%) showed sialectasis in 81% of patients. Over half the patients (54%) were given antibiotics at least once to treat the parotitis. Two children had hypogammablobulinaemia, one child had human immunodeficiency virus infection, and one child had Sjogren's syndrome. Two children had high titre antinuclear antibodies.


Recurrent parotitis had a biphasic age distribution. The major clinical features that distinguish it from other causes of parotid swelling are the lack of pus and recurrent episodes. A clinical diagnosis can often be confirmed by ultrasound. Antibiotics do not have a role in treatment. Affected children should be screened for Sjogren's syndrome and immune deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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