A federal government Website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Mumps is an infectious disease caused by a virus that can lead to serious complications, especially for adults and pregnant women. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps.
The mumps vaccine was licensed in 1967 and is usually administered as part of the MMR vaccine. MMR is a combination vaccine that provides protection from three viral diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The MMR vaccine is strongly endorsed by medical and public health experts as safe and effective. In the United States, two doses are recommended for children:
Your child’s health care provider may also offer the MMRV vaccine, a combination vaccine that provides protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). MMRV vaccine is licensed for children 12 months to 12 years of age and may be used in place of MMR vaccine if varicella vaccination is needed in addition to measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination. Your child’s health care provider can help you decide which vaccine to use.
Anyone born during or after 1957 who has not had mumps or been vaccinated is at risk and should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Two doses are recommended for adults who are at higher risk, such as
However, pregnant women should wait to get MMR vaccine until after they have given birth. Women should not become pregnant for 28 days following the receipt of the MMR vaccine or any of its components. (The combination MMRV vaccine is not licensed for those over 12 years old.)
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. The mumps virus affects the saliva glands, located between the ear and jaw, and may cause puffy cheeks and swollen glands.
Like the common cold or flu, the mumps virus spreads in the air from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. A child also can get infected with mumps by coming in contact with an object, like a toy, that has mumps virus on it. An infected person is most likely to spread mumps one to two days before symptoms of swollen glands appear. Infected people can spread mumps for up to five days after symptoms appear.
About one out of three people with mumps may have no symptoms, or symptoms may be very mild. Symptoms usually appear about 16 to 18 days after being exposed to someone who was contagious. The most common symptoms include:
Anyone who is not immune from either previous mumps infection or from vaccination can get mumps. Before the routine vaccination program was introduced in the United States, mumps was a common illness in infants, children and young adults. Because most people have now been vaccinated, mumps has become a rare disease in the United States.
Mumps virus usually causes fever, general discomfort, and (in most, but not all cases) the characteristic swollen jaw. However, complications can occur and might be more severe in teenagers and adults. Mumps can cause headache and stiff neck (called meningitis), inflammation of the testicles (called orchitis), deafness, and, in rare cases, inflammation of the brain (called encephalitis), which can lead to permanent disabilities or even death.
Learn more about the vaccine recommendations for you.