Mumps is a disease caused by the mumps virus. It is contagious and spreads from person to person.
Mumps is an acute disease. That means it usually makes you sick for a short time..
A vaccine can prevent mumps
The best way to prevent mumps is to get the vaccine.
Learn more about the vaccine for mumps
Mumps is a contagious disease that easily spreads from person to person. It can spread through direct contact or droplets in the air. An infected person can spread droplets when they talk, cough, sneeze, or share cups or dishes with other people.
Symptoms usually start with:
- Muscle aches.
- Loss of appetite.
After a few days, the glands in and around your mouth may swell. This swelling can lead to painful, puffy cheeks and neck. Some patients have trouble swallowing. You can spread the disease up to five days after symptoms start.
Mumps disease can lead to:
- Infection of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis).
- Painful swelling of the breasts and testicles or ovaries.
- Inability to have children (in rare cases).
The best way to avoid getting sick from mumps is to get the vaccine. The vaccine has greatly reduced mumps cases in the United States. Outbreaks still occur in close-knit communities, including colleges.
The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases: mumps, measles, and rubella. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all children get two doses of the MMR vaccine:
- First dose at 12–15 months of age.
- Second dose at 4–6 years of age.
Teens and adults also should be up to date on their mumps vaccination. People planning to be somewhere where measles or mumps spread more easily should make sure they’re vaccinated. The vaccine is important for people who:
- Live or study at a college, university or other location for higher education.
- Work in health care.
- Plan to travel to another country.
Find out if you and your children got the vaccine to protect against mumps. Check our Department of Health Services (DHS) Wisconsin Immunization Registry.
If you’re worried about cost, your family may be eligible for free vaccines. Read about our Vaccines For Children and Vaccines For Adults programs.
- DHS fact sheet—Mumps, P-42110
- CDC disease overview—Mumps
- CDC vaccine information statement—Measles, Mumps, Rubella
- CDC fact sheet for parents—Mumps Vaccination
- CDC infographic for college students—Don’t Let Mumps Spoil Your Fun
- CDC infographic for college students—Mumps Can Really Ruin a Selfie
- Medscape—CDC Expert Commentary
- National Institute of Health journal articles—Mumps
- CDC—Vaccine safety
Data and statistics
Just for health care providers
Mumps is a communicable disease. Health care providers must report cases of mumps.
Mumps is a Wisconsin Disease Surveillance Category II disease.
Report a recognized case to the patient’s local public health department. Within 72 hours, submit a case report through one of the following:
- Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS)
- Mail or fax—Acute and Communicable Disease Case Report, F44151 (Word)
Read more about required disease reporting in Wisconsin.
Case reporting and public health guidelines
- Case Reporting and Investigation Protocol (previously called EpiNet)—Mumps, P-01969 (PDF)
- DHS surveillance and control guidelines—Mumps, P-00640 (PDF)
- DHS letter on mumps testing, dated Feb 2018—Public Health Follow-up and Testing Recommendations for Individuals with Parotitis (PDF)
- CDC—Instructions for Completing the Mumps Surveillance Worksheet (PDF)
- CDC—Mumps Surveillance Worksheet (PDF)
- CDC recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices:
- Wisconsin State Library of Hygiene—Mumps Testing Guidance