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Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Mumps starts with a fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swelling of the salivary glands. It is a common illness in children and young adults. Mumps can be prevented with vaccination.

Mumps is not very common in the US any longer. From year to year, mumps cases can range from roughly a couple hundred to a couple thousand. For example in 2010, there were 2,612 cases, and in 2012, there were 229. Before the US mumps vaccination program started in 1967, about 186,000 cases were reported each year. There has been more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the US since the pre-vaccine era.

  • Symptoms
  • Transmission
  • Prevention


  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen and sensitive salivary glands under the ears or jaw on either one or both sides of the face called parotitis


  • Swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • Swelling of the ovaries called Oophoritis
  • Swelling of the testicles called Orchitis
  • Swelling of the cheeks and jaw, due to the swelling of the salivary glands
  • Deafness
  • Swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
  • Swelling of the breasts (mastitis)


  • When an infected person coughs, laughs, sneezes, or talks the droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat can spread the virus
  • Items and objects used or touched by an infected person can be contaminated with the virus

Things to do to help prevent the spread of mumps:

  • Washing hands well with soap
  • Do not share eating or drinking utensils
  • Items touched frequently must be cleaned with soap and water or disinfecting wipes

Mumps Vaccination

The measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps. The vaccine is included in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. Two (2) doses of MMR vaccine are recommended to prevent the disease. The first dose should be given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose should be given at 4 to 6 years of age.

Possible Vaccine Side Effects

  • Irritations in the arm
  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Slight red rash

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