What is Mumps?
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. About half of the people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and don't know they are infected. For those who do show symptoms, mumps typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, and is followed by swelling of salivary glands.
Mumps spreads from an infected person to a healthy person through coughing, sneezing and regular conversation. People with mumps usually recover after a week or two, but mumps can occasionally cause serious complications. The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles in boys who have reached puberty. Other rarer complications include swelling of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord; swelling of the ovaries and/or breasts in girls who have reached puberty; and deafness. Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get the mumps.
Prior to the mumps vaccine, approximately 200,000 cases of mumps and 20 to 30 deaths occurred each year in the U.S. Mumps is no longer as common in the United States.; however, outbreaks of mumps still occur in the U.S. In 2014, 42 states in the U.S. and D.C. reported mumps infections in 1,223 people. In 2015, 40 states in the U.S. reported mumps infections in 1,057 people, and in 2016, 31 states reported mumps infections in 727 people to the CDC (as of the beginning of April).
The MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is the best way to protect against mumps. Children need two doses of MMR to be fully protected. The first dose of MMR should be given between 12-15 months of age and the second dose between 4-6 years of age. The catch up schedule is followed for children who miss either or both of the doses.
Adults born after 1957 who have not had the mumps and have not had the MMR vaccine are recommended to get 2 doses of MMR vaccine.