The mumps are a vaccine preventable virus which is spread from person-to-person by respiratory droplets or direct contact with contaminated items. The parotid glands, located between the ear and the jaw, are often swollen. Unvaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 14 are most commonly infected. Other organs, such as the testes, the central nervous system, and the pancreas, can be affected by the virus. The incubation period is usually 16 to 18 days, but cases may occur from 12 to 25 days after exposure.

Symptoms include:

  • Face pain
  • Swelling of the parotid glands
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling of the temples or jaw
  • Testicle pain

There is no specific treatment of mumps other than treating the symptoms. But once an individual has had mumps, he/she is immune to it for life.

To prevent the mumps, individuals can be vaccinated. The MMR immunization protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, and should be administered to children 12-15 months old. Vaccination is repeated between 4 and 6 years of age, or between 11 and 12 years of age.

To help prevent the spread of mumps, anyone who has the mumps should not return to child care, school or work until nine (9) days after symptoms began or until they are well, whichever is longer.

Contact your doctor, local health department or the Department of Health and Senior Services (866-628-9891) if you have other questions about mumps.

Special Note: If you believe you have been exposed to the mumps or are showing symptoms of mumps, call ahead before going to your healthcare provider. This will help prevent further exposures and possible transmission of the mumps virus in waiting and examination rooms.