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Vaccines to Prevent Mumps
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Most people with mumps will have swelling of their salivary glands, which causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Mumps can be prevented with vaccination.
Children should receive two doses of MMR vaccine.
MMRV vaccine is licensed for children 12 months to 12 years old and may be used in place of MMR vaccine if varicella vaccination is also needed. A health care provider can help decide which vaccine to use.
MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. MMR vaccine is the best way to protect children against mumps and to prevent them from spreading the disease to others.
Anyone born during or after 1957, who has never had mumps or has never been vaccinated, is at risk for mumps. They should get at least one dose of the MMR vaccine. Two doses are recommended for adults at increased risk, such as students in college, trade school, and training programs, international travelers, and health care professionals.
If you are not sure if you are protected against mumps, first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of mumps immunity. If you do not have written documentation of mumps immunity, you should get MMR vaccine. Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you’re immune, but this is likely to cost more and will take two doctor’s visits. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to mumps.
Women who are planning to become pregnant should make sure they are protected against mumps before they get pregnant. Most women of childbearing age were vaccinated as children with the MMR vaccine, but they should confirm this with their doctor. If they need to get vaccinated for mumps, they should avoid becoming pregnant until one month (28 days) after receiving the MMR vaccine.
Pregnant women who are not protected against mumps should wait until after they have given birth to get MMR vaccine.
Last reviewed: April 2015
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. Most people with mumps will have swelling of their salivary glands, which causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Symptoms usually appear about 16 to 18 days after being exposed to someone who was contagious.
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.
Complications can occur and might be more severe in teenagers and adults. Mumps can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), deafness, inflammation of the testicles (called orchitis), inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis), and, in rare cases, death.
About one out of three people with mumps may have no symptoms, or symptoms may be very mild.
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 outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings such as schools, colleges, and camps. However, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks.
Learn more about the vaccine recommendations for you.