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Mumps (Infectious Parotitis)

What is mumps?

Mumps is a viral illness that causes fever and swelling of one or more glands near the jaw. Mumps is more common during winter and spring.

Who gets mumps?

In the United States most cases of mumps occur in children who are between 5 and 19 years old, although people of any age can get mumps.

How is mumps spread?

Mumps is spread by direct contact with saliva or mucus. It can also be spread by airborne droplets.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Symptoms include fever, body aches, headaches, and swelling of one or more of the salivary glands. The parotid gland which is just below the ear is most often affected. About one-third of people infected with mumps do not have any symptoms.

How soon after infection do symptoms occur?

Symptoms usually occur 16-18 days after infection.

What complications have been associated with mumps?

Mumps can cause pain and swelling of the testicles, deafness, arthritis, and problems of the brain and nervous system.

When and for how long is a person able to spread mumps?

People with mumps are usually contagious from 3 days before to 4 days after the appearance of symptoms. A person is most contagious 48 hours before the appearance of symptoms.

Does infection make a person immune?

Yes. Infection provides lifelong immunity.

Is there a vaccine for mumps?

Yes. Mumps vaccine is given on or after a child's first birthday and is usually given with measles and rubella vaccine in a combination vaccine known as MMR vaccine. This vaccine is highly effective, and one dose usually provides lifelong protection.

What can be done to prevent the spread of mumps?

The single most effective control measure is maintaining the highest possible vaccination levels in the community. Infected people should stay at home while they are contagious.

For more information on where your child can be vaccinated, call 311.