Mumps VaccineEn Español (Spanish Version)
is a highly contagious infection. It results in fever and swelling of the parotid glands. These are salivary glands located near the front of the ear. Mumps is caused by a virus.
The virus is usually spread through contact with an infected person's saliva. Since the virus is highly contagious, it spreads easily among people in close contact.
Once a common childhood illness, mumps is now rarely seen in the Unite States. This is largely because of the use of the vaccine, which provides lifelong immunity.
- Painful swelling of the parotid glands (under the cheeks and jaw)
- Sore throat
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling and pain under the tongue, jaw, or front of the chest
- In males: painful inflammation of the testicles
- In females: inflammation of the ovaries, which results in pain or tenderness in the abdomen
In some cases, people have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, it is generally 2-3 weeks after exposure.
There are no medicines or specific treatments for mumps. Since the illness is caused by a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Mumps should
be treated with aspirin. Treatment is aimed at improving comfort, which may include:
- Applying hot or cold compresses to swollen areas
- Gargling with warm saltwater
- Using non-aspirin pain relievers
- Using fever-reducing medicines (eg, acetaminophen, ibuprofen)
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Avoiding tart or acidic drinks (eg, orange juice, lemonade)
- Eating a soft, bland diet
The mumps vaccine is usually given in combination with:
All children (with few exceptions) should receive the vaccine two times:
- 12-15 months
- 4-6 years (school entry)—can be given earlier, but the two doses must be separated by at least four weeks
The vaccine can also be given to infants aged 6-11 months who will be traveling internationally. These infants should also get the two routine shots at ages 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
For those 18 years of age or younger who have not been vaccinated, two doses of MMR are given. The doses are separated by four weeks.
Adults born after 1957 who have not been previously vaccinated may need 1-2 doses. Talk with your doctor if you were not previously vaccinated.
Like any vaccine, the MMR vaccine could cause serious problems. While most people do not have any problems with the MMR vaccine, some have reported:
- Mild problems: fever, a mild rash, or swelling of the glands in the cheeks or neck
- Moderate problems: seizure caused by fever, temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, and low platelet count
- Very rare: serious allergic reactions
You should not get the vaccine if you:
Had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic
, or a previous dose of MMR vaccine
- Are moderately or severely ill—Wait until you recover.
- Pregnant women—Wait until after you have given birth. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, wait until four weeks after getting the vaccine.
Talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine if you have the following conditions:
A condition that affects the immune system (eg,
- Are being treated with drugs that affect the immune system (eg, long-term steroids)
or are being treated for cancer
- Low blood platelet count
Have had a
Other than getting the vaccine, the best way to prevent mumps is to avoid contact with an infected person.
A case of mumps needs to be reported to public health authorities. If you think you or your child has mumps, call the doctor right away.
Anyone who may have been exposed and has not been fully immunized will need to receive the vaccine.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
American Academy of Pediatrics
National Immunization Program
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Baker CJ, Pickerling LK, Chilton L, et al; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2011.
Ann Intern Med.
1 Feb 2011;154(3):168-173.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years —United States, 2011.
Measles, mumps, and rubella: vaccine use and strategies for elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome and control of mumps: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR website. Available at:
Published 22, 1998. Accessed February 17, 2012.
Mumps. New York State Department of Health website. Available at:
. Accessed February 6, 2007.
Mumps vaccination. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Accessed February 6, 2007.
Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-6 years—United States, 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Published December 23, 2011. Accessed February 16, 2012.
1/31/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years—United States, 2008. MMWR. 2008;57;Q1-Q4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MMWR website. Available at:
Updated January 10, 2008. Accessed January 28, 2008.
Last Reviewed June 2012