Transmission of Mumps

Mumps Virus Still Around
Children running

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

  • Check your child’s immunization record or contact the doctor to see whether your child has already received the MMR vaccine.
  • Get your child vaccinated on time; visit the immunization scheduler for newborn to 6-year-old children.
  • Remember that some preteens, teens, and adults also need MMR vaccine; review the preteens and teen schedule and the adult schedule.
  • Get an additional vaccine dose if your health department recommends it to a group you are part of during an outbreak.
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of mumps.
  • Let your doctor know right away if you think you or someone in your family may have mumps.

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

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • sharing items that may have saliva on them, such as water bottles or cups
  • participating in close-contact activities with others, such as playing sports, dancing, or kissing
  • touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others

An infected person can likely spread mumps from a few days before their salivary glands begin to swell to up to five days after the swelling begins. A person with mumps should limit their contact with others during this time. For example, stay home from school and do not attend social events.

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