It’s important to make sure that your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date. While mumps is no longer very common in the United States, several individuals in Johnson County have tested positive for mumps in the past few weeks.
Mumps are generally benign, especially in people who have received two measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines, but the disease is contagious. The mumps virus is spread through contact with saliva or mucous from the mouth, nose, or throat. Signs and symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Jaw pain
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the salivary (parotid) glands
The best way to protect yourself and others is to receive two doses of the MMR vaccine. People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are about nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to mumps virus. However, some people who receive two doses of MMR can still get mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close contact with someone who has the disease. If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person.
Practicing good hand hygiene, not sharing drinking or eating utensils, and limiting contact with infected people also helps reduce the spread of the disease.
The period of contagiousness for the disease starts before the jaw swelling and lasts for five days after swelling begins. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has more general information about mumps, as well as questions and answers about the disease.