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  • Mumps

    What you should know.

    Mumps is not common in the United States. However, outbreaks can happen in groups that have close contact, like college students and crowded workplaces. People who get 2 doses of mumps vaccine (MMR) are about 9 times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people.

    Mumps FAQs

    The classic sign for mumps is painful swelling under one or both ears along the jaw line. The swelling is in the salivary glands, also called parotid glands.

    It is a disease caused by a virus. It typically starts with:

    • Fever.
    • Headache.
    • Muscle aches.
    • Tiredness.
    • Loss of appetite. 

    Most people with mumps get well in a few weeks. Some people with mumps may have a mild illness or may not even know they have the disease. 

    Other viruses besides mumps virus can cause swelling of the parotid glands. Special tests are needed to diagnose mumps.

    However, mumps can occasionally cause serious health problems. These health problems can include:

    • Swelling of the testicles.
    • Swelling of the brain or spinal cord.
    • Deafness.
    • Inflammation of the ovaries.

    Mumps spreads by coughing, sneezing, or spraying saliva while talking. It also spreads by sharing cups, spoons, forks, baby bottles and other utensils. Mumps can spread if someone who has mumps goes to a place where many people are gathered.

    • Babies younger than 1 year old.
    • Children over 1 year of age who have not received at least 1 dose of mumps vaccine (MMR vaccine).
    • Adults born in or after 1957 who have not been vaccinated or have not had mumps before.
    • During outbreaks, immunized people who have close contact with people who have mumps may become infected. A third dose of mumps vaccine may be recommended during outbreaks

    If you’ve had mumps before, you are generally considered immune and do not need the vaccine. People born before 1957 are also often considered immune.

    For more information, visit the CDC’s Mumps webpage.

    Call your doctor if you or your child has the signs of mumps. They include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite and swollen cheeks or jaw.

    Stay home and away from other people until you can see a doctor. Don’t go to work or school. Stay away from family as much as possible so they don’t get sick. People with mumps can spread the disease for five or more days after getting swollen cheeks or jaw. 

    • Get two doses of mumps vaccine (included in the MMR vaccine).
    • Stay away from anyone who has mumps.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
    • Don’t share cups, spoons, forks, baby bottles and other utensils.