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Transmission of Mumps

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Mumps Virus Still Around

Children running

Mumps still occurs in the United States, and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine is the best way to prevent the disease.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking,
  • sharing items, such as cups or eating utensils, with others, and
  • touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others.

Mumps likely spreads before the salivary glands begin to swell and up to five days after the swelling begins.

For information about how to prevent mumps from spreading, see Outbreak-Related Questions and Answers for Patients.

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