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Mumps: Facts and Details

What is mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus (a paramyxovirus).

How common is mumps?

Since the mumps vaccine in 1967, mumps cases are less common in the United States. Cases range between a couple hundred to several thousand each year depending on the number of mumps outbreaks.

How do people become infected?

Mumps is spread from person to person by sneezing or coughing. Infection occurs when a person contacts the saliva or nose secretions directly on their face.

What are the signs and symptoms of mumps?

Symptoms usually include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swelling of the salivary glands (parotitis).

How long can you spread mumps virus?

After exposure, symptoms usually appear in 12 to 25 days. Someone with mumps is contagious from three days before parotitis onset to five days after parotitis onset and should remain isolated at home to prevent the spread of disease.

Who is at risk for mumps?

Unvaccinated people are most at risk for mumps infection. Mumps outbreaks usually occur where people have close contact with one another, like college campuses. Rarely, people with mumps have complications such as deafness or inflammation of the testicles, ovaries or, brain.

How is mumps treated?

Mumps is caused by a virus, so antibiotics won’t work, and there is no specific treatment.

How can you prevent mumps?

The best way to prevent mumps is to be vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Prevent infections by washing your hands and avoiding sharing eating and drinking utensils.

Make sure your shots are up to date. MMR vaccine can be obtained from the Sedgwick County Division of Health, 2716 West Central Avenue, Wichita, Kansas.