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Vaccines to Prevent Mumps

  • MMR: Measles, Mumps, and Rubella combination vaccine (Spanish)
  • MMRV: Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella (chickenpox) combination vaccine (Spanish)
Vaccine Basics

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.

For Infants and Children

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:

  •  The first dose at 12–15 months of age
  •  The second dose before entering school, at 4–6 years of age

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.

For Adults

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

  • College students, trade school students, or other students beyond high school
  • Those who work in a hospital or other medical facility
  • International travelers or those who are passengers on a cruise ship
  • Women of childbearing age

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.)

About Mumps

What is Mumps?

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:

  •  Fever
  •  Headache
  •  Muscle aches
  •  Tiredness
  •  Loss of appetite
  •  Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face (parotitis)

Who gets Mumps?

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.

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