Mumps Exposure  
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Does this describe your symptoms?

Definition
  • You were exposed to someone who was diagnosed with mumps
  • You have questions about mumps

What is the definition of exposure? You have had an exposure to mumps if:

  • You live in the same household (home, apartment, dorm room) as a person diagnosed with mumps.
  • You have had close contact (within 3 feet, 1 meter; touching distance) with a person diagnosed with mumps. Examples of such close contact include, kissing or hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation, performing a physical examination (relevant to health care providers), and any other direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva of a person with mumps.

General Information:

  • Mumps is a disease that is caused by the mumps virus.
  • Usually mumps is a childhood disease. It is most commonly seen in children who have not received the MMR vaccine. However, mumps can occur at any age.
  • Complications are more serious in adults than children.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

  • Most people with mumps have fever, headache, muscle aches, and decreased appetite. Usually these symptoms last 7-10 days.
  • Approximately 30-40% of people have swelling of the parotid gland. This is called parotitis, which means inflammation of the parotid gland. The parotid glands are located on each side of your jaw just in front of your ear. Parotid gland swelling can occur on one side or both sides of the face.
  • Interestingly, 20% of people with mumps have no symptoms at all.

What are the complications of mumps?

  • Oopheritis (inflammation of the ovary): This occurs in about 5% of women. Abdominal pain may be present.
  • Orchitis (inflammation of the testicle): This occurs in about 50% of men. The main symptoms are pain and swelling of the testicle. This usually appears about one week after onset of parotitis. Sometimes it can happen in both testes. Orchitis can cause infertility, however, this is rare.
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Viral meningitis

Is mumps contagious?

  • Mumps is contagious. This means that it can be spread from person to person. Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva and mucus. This can occur during close contact (less than 3 feet or 1 meter) when a person with mumps coughs, sneezes, or even talks. Mumps can also be spread by kissing or sharing eating utensils.
  • The chance of getting mumps from someone who has mumps depends on how long the contact lasted. It also depends on how close the contact was. If the contact was brief the chance of getting mumps is around 10%. If you live in the same house, apartment or dorm room, the chance of getting mumps may be as high as 90%.
  • A person with mumps is contagious from 3 days before the start of symptoms to 9 days after the start of symptoms.
When to Call Your Doctor

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you now have a severe headache
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you now have a stiff neck (can't touch chin to chest)
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you now have pain in your scrotum (testicles)
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you now have abdominal pain
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
  • You think you need to be seen
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you now have a swollen face or jaw
  • Exposure to mumps in past 25 days and you work in healthcare (e.g., paramedic, nurse, doctor)
  • Exposure to mumps and you are pregnant
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
  • You have other questions or concerns
  • Born after 1956 and you never got the mumps vaccine (the MMR vaccine)
  • Born after 1956 and you only got the mumps vaccine one time (you need two doses of the MMR vaccine for it to work right and prevent mumps)
  • College or graduate student and you only got the mumps vaccine one time (you need two doses of the MMR vaccine for it to work right and prevent mumps)
  • Healthcare worker and you only got the mumps vaccine one time (you need two doses of the MMR vaccine for it to work right and prevent mumps)
Self Care at Home If
  • You were exposed to mumps, but you received the MMR vaccine at least twice in the past
  • You were born before 1957
  • You have already had mumps before
Care Advice for Mumps and Mumps Exposure

Mumps
  1. General Information:
    • Mumps is a disease that is caused by the mumps virus.
    • Mumps is usually a disease of childhood. It is most commonly seen in children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were not vaccinated. However, it can happen in any age group.
  2. What are the symptoms of mumps?
    • Most people with mumps have fever, headache, muscle aches, and decreased appetite. Usually these symptoms last 7-10 days.
    • Approximately 30-40% of people have swelling of the parotid gland. This is called parotitis, which means inflammation of the parotid gland. The parotid glands are located on each side of your jaw just in front of your ear. Parotid gland swelling can occur on one side or both sides of the face.
    • Interestingly, 20% of people with mumps have no symptoms at all.
  3. How can I get mumps? Is it contagious?

    • Mumps is contagious. This means that it can be spread from person to person. Mumps is spread by droplets of saliva and mucus. This can occur during close contact (less than 3 feet or 1 meter) when the person with mumps coughs, sneezes, or even talks. Mumps can also be spread by kissing or sharing eating utensils.
    • The chance of getting mumps from someone who has mumps depends on how close the contact was. It also depends on how long the contact lasted. If the contact was brief the chance of getting mumps is around 10%. If you live in the same house, apartment or dorm room, the chance of getting mumps may be as high as 90%.
    • A person with mumps is contagious from 3 days before the start of symptoms to 9 days after the start of symptoms.
  4. What is the treatment for mumps?
    • There is no specific treatment for mumps.
    • Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) can help decrease fever, muscles, and other pains.
    • Since mumps is a virus, antibiotics do not help.
  5. How can mumps be prevented?
    • Mumps can be prevented with the MMR vaccine.
  6. Internet Resources:
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • You think you have mumps. For example, if you develop fever, headache, or muscle aches within 25 days of being exposed to a person diagnosed with mumps
    • You are a man and develop pain in one or both testicles (testes)
    • You develop swelling on one or both sides of your jaw
    • You have other questions or concerns.
Mumps Exposure
  1. What should I do if I am exposed to Mumps?
    • Just because you were exposed to mumps does not mean that you will get mumps. Most people born before 1957 had mumps when they were children and are now immune to mumps. Immune means that you cannot get mumps again. If you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine you should be immune to getting mumps.
    • If you never received the MMR vaccine, now is the right time to get two doses of the vaccine. You should get the second dose one month after the first dose.
    • If you have only received one dose of the MMR vaccine, it is a good idea to get a second dose.
  2. Internet Resources:

    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has answers to outbreak-related questions at: http://www.cdc.gov/.
  3. Call Back Your Doctor If:
    • You have other questions or concerns.
The MMR Vaccine
  1. General Information:
    • It is called the MMR vaccine because it is a 3 in 1 vaccine that prevents Measles (also called Rubeola), Mumps, and Rubella.
    • Measles, mumps, and rubella are diseases of childhood. They are potentially serious.
  2. Who should get the MMR vaccine? The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine MMR vaccination for the following groups of people:
    • All children, beginning at age 12-15 months
    • Adults born after 1956 who do not have documentation that they received the MMR vaccine
    • Healthcare workers who neither have documentation of nor a blood test showing immunity
  3. Who should get two doses of the MMR vaccine? Somewhere between 2 and 5% of people who receive a single dose of the MMR vaccine do not develop immunity. Therefore, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a second dose for any adult born after 1956 in any of the following groups.
    • College and graduate students
    • People with international travel plans
    • Healthcare workers
  4. Who should not get a MMR vaccine?
    • Pregnant women
    • Women who expect to get pregnant in the next 3 months
    • You can read this Vaccine Information Statement at http://www.immunize.org/vis/mmr03.pdf for a description of the vaccine and complete list of contraindications.
  5. What are common side effects of the MMR vaccine?
    • Local pain at injection site (in 10%)
    • Fever and rash occur within 7 to 12 days following the injection (in 5%). The fever is usually between 101 F and 103 F (38.3 C and 39.5 C) and lasts 2 to 3 days. The mild pink rash is mainly on the trunk and lasts 2 to 3 days. No treatment is necessary. You are not contagious.
    • Temporary mild pain and stiffness in the joints. This typically occurs in women (in 25% of women).
    • Temporary lymph node swelling
  6. Internet Resources:

  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Fever after a vaccine lasts more than 3 days
    • Pain at the vaccine injection site lasts more than 3 days
    • You have other questions or concerns.

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D.

Last Reviewed: 11/18/2011

Last Revised: 1/22/2012

Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker

Copyright 2000-2012 David A. Thompson, M.D.