Mumps is caused by a virus and is transmitted through droplets expelled when people cough or sneeze, but individuals may not become ill until approximately 2-3 weeks (12-25 days) after being exposed to the virus. At least one in three infected with mumps may have no obvious symptoms. A person who has mumps is contagious from two days before to five days after the onset of swelling of the cheek or neck (parotitis).
Most common symptoms include:
Loss of appetite
Swollen and tender salivary glands
Mumps can be prevented by vaccination. Two doses of vaccine against mumps are required for school attendance. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against mumps. Vaccinated people can get mumps, especially in situations where there is prolonged close contact with someone who has mumps. Vaccinated people normally have much milder illness than those in an unvaccinated people, but they can still spread the illness to others.
As is the case with most illnesses, there are several things individuals can do to help prevent spreading the virus to others:
Wash hands well and often with soap.
Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into an upper sleeve or elbow, not hands.
Individuals with facial swelling should consult their health care provider or SCHD and stay in isolation for five days after onset or until testing negative.