What is mumps?

Mumps is an acute infection caused by the mumps virus. How do you get mumps? Mumps is spread by mucus or droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person, usually when a person coughs or sneezes.  The virus may also be spread indirectly when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and then someone else touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.  Symptoms most commonly appear 16-18 days after exposure, but this period can range from 12-25 days after the exposure.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Mumps is best known for causing pain and swelling around the parotid glands, which are found on the jaw line in front of the ears (parotitis).  Other common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.  Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and may not know they have the disease.

What can I do to protect myself?

Mumps vaccine (usually given as a combination measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine) is the best way to prevent mumps.  All children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.  Adults who have not been vaccinated or have do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Adults who are at particular risk for exposure to mumps should make sure that they have received two MMR doses.  This includes adults who work in healthcare or are in a school/university setting, who plan to travel internationally, or who are in a community experiencing a mumps outbreak get two doses of MMR.  Pregnant women and persons with impaired immune systems should not receive MMR vaccine.  Pregnant women who need the vaccine should wait until after giving birth.

Contact your healthcare provider to discuss whether or not you or your child should be vaccinated, or call the Orange County Public Health Referral Line at 1-800-564-8448 to find out where you or your child can get vaccinated.

Latest News

Provider Advisory: Increase in Mumps Cases Among Young Adults in Orange County

August 23, 2018
Orange County Health Care Agency has received five reports of mumps cases among young adults since June 1, 2018.  The cases ranged in age from 18-22 years, three of five were male.

Page Last Updated:  October 10, 2018