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What is mumps?

  • It is an infection of the salivary glands caused by the mumps virus

What are the symptoms of mumps?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen salivary glands under the jaw
  • Hearing loss
  • Aseptic meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord)
  • Painful swollen testicles in 20% to 30% of males who have reached puberty

How is mumps spread?

  • Airborne transmission with mucus or droplets from the nose or throat
  • Direct contact with mucus from the nose or saliva
  • Kissing on the lips
  • Sharing food, eating utensils, and mouthed toys.

How soon do symptoms appear?    

  • Symptoms may appear 12—25 days after infection, but usually within 18 days.
  • How long is an infected person able to spread the disease?
  • The period of communicability is from 6 to 7 days before onset of swelling to 9 days after onset. Individuals are most contagious 3 days before onset of illness through 4 days after.

Should infected people be excluded from childcare, work, or school?

Yes. Anyone with symptoms should not go back to day care, school or work until 9 days after the swelling began. If the person is hospitalized, they should be in respiratory isolation until 9 days after onset of swelling.

What is the treatment for mumps?

There is no specific treatment. Supportive care should be given as needed.

Is there a vaccine to prevent mumps?

Yes. Two doses of mumps vaccine, given as combination MMR vaccine, separated by at least 4 weeks, are routinely recommended for all children. The first dose is given on or after the first birthday; the second is given at 4-6 years of age. Mumps-containing vaccine given before 12 months of age should be re-vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine, the first of which should be administered when the child is at least 12 months of age. MMR is a live, attenuated vaccine. Pregnant women and persons with an immunodeficiency or immunosuppression should NOT receive attenuated vaccines.

Anyone who may be at risk can contact their physician for advice on receiving a booster or MMR series.

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