Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Mumps typically starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Then, most people will have swelling of their salivary glands (often referred to as parotitis when the parotid gland, in front and below the ear, swells). This is what causes the puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.
Mumps can be prevented with MMR vaccine. This protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults also should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.
MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. The mumps component of the MMR vaccine is about 88% (range: 32-95%) effective when a person gets two doses; one dose is about 78% (range: 49%−92%) effective.
Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.
Before the U.S. mumps vaccination program started in 1967, mumps was a universal disease of childhood. Since the pre-vaccine era, there has been a more than 99% decrease in mumps cases in the United States. Mumps outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in settings where people have close, prolonged contact, such as universities and close-knit communities. However, high vaccination coverage helps to limit the size, duration, and spread of mumps outbreaks. In the event of an outbreak, public health authorities may recommend that people at increased risk for mumps get a third dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine to improve their protection against the disease.
CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:
- the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
- the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.
Teens and adults should also be up to date on MMR vaccinations.