MUMPS

Mumps is caused by a virus that passes from one person to another through saliva, nasal secretions, and close personal contact.

The condition primarily affects the salivary glands, also called the parotid glands. These glands are responsible for producing saliva. There are three sets of salivary glands on each side of your face, located behind and below your ears.

Although mumps is rare, infections can still happen in places where people are close to each other (i.e., schools, colleges, and camps).

The mumps vaccine used in the United States was licensed in 1967. It was developed by the vaccine researcher Maurice Hilleman.  He used a mumps virus that he isolated from his daughter, Jeryl Lynn, when she was ill with mumps at age 5. (The vaccine virus strain was referred to as the “Jeryl Lynn strain.”) Hilleman’s mumps vaccine was then used in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which was licensed in 1971.

Mumps vaccination is included on the U.S. childhood immunization schedule as part of the combined MMR vaccine. This vaccine is given in two doses, the first at 12-15 months of age and the second between 4-6 years of age. Alternatively, the mumps vaccination is available as part of the newer MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella) combination vaccine, protecting against chickenpox.

Certain adults are considered to be at higher risk for mumps. These include college students and health care personnel. It is recommended that these groups verify that they received two doses of mumps-containing vaccine, or demonstrate proof of mumps immunity.

Cases of mumps have occurred in individuals who have received the recommended two doses due to waning vaccine immunity. Third doses have been given during outbreaks, with good booster responses to the vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent mumps. When enough people in a community get vaccinated for mumps, the community is less likely to get the disease.

Best known for puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw, Mumps result from swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, sometimes referred to as parotitis.

Other symptoms that might begin a few days before include:
  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

  • Tiredness

  • Loss of appetite

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12–25 days after infection.

Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold) or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the disease. In rare cases, mumps can cause more severe complications, including hearing loss.

 

Most people with mumps recover completely within two weeks.

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Mumps vaccination is included on the U.S. childhood immunization schedule as part of the combined MMR vaccine. This vaccine is given in two doses, the first at 12-15 months of age and the second between 4-6 years of age. Alternatively, the mumps vaccination is available as part of the newer MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella) combination vaccine, protecting against chickenpox.