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Facts about Mumps

What is mumps?
An illness caused by the mumps virus.

What are the symptoms of mumps?
The first symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are followed by swelling of the parotid salivary glands (which are located within your cheek, near your jaw line, below your ears).

How is mumps transmitted?
Mumps is spread by direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva of a person infected with mumps. A person with mumps is contagious about 5 days before symptoms appear to about 9 days after symptoms appear.

After being exposed, how long does it take to get mumps?
Mumps incubation time (the period from when a person is exposed to the virus to getting symptoms of mumps) ranges from 12 – 25 days.

Is there a treatment for mumps?
Currently there is no treatment for mumps. Although rare, mumps can cause serious complications, so it is important to contact your doctor if you think you have mumps.

Can mumps be prevented?
The mumps vaccine can prevent mumps. The mumps vaccine (included in the MMR – measles, mumps and rubella vaccine) is given routinely to children at 12 to 15 months of age, with a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. Two doses of mumps vaccine are recommended for anyone born after 1957 and anyone who has not had a case of mumps diagnosed by a physician. Immunity to mumps is particularly important in the following groups:

  • Healthcare workers
  • School-aged children
  • Students at colleges and universities

An ongoing outbreak of mumps (an outbreak is more than five cases clustered together) is occurring in Iowa and other Midwestern states. One case of mumps has been diagnosed in a child in Calvert County. If you have symptoms of mumps you should contact your health care provider.

For more information on mumps log onto CDC’s web site at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web Site, April 25, 2006.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Red Book, 2003.

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