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What is it?

A very contagious infection of one or more of the salivary glands. These glands are located on either side of the face, below the ears. In some cases, it can lead to hearing loss, swelling of the brain and spinal cord, and brain damage.


Severe swelling and soreness of the cheeks and jaw. It usually starts with neck or ear pain, loss of appetite, tiredness, headache, and low fever. About a third of persons infected have no symptoms.

How does it spread?

Through direct contact with saliva and discharges from the nose and throat of infected persons. Mumps can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or even talking.


First dose, 12-15 months; second dose, 4-6 years

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 MMMRV to improve their protection against the disease.