What is it?
Mumps is a contagious viral illness caused by the paramyxovirus which primarily infects the salivary glands
It is usually a childhood disease but can sometimes cause serious complications especially in adults
What are the symptoms?
Painful swelling of the salivary glands below the ears near the jaw line
Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite
Up to 30% of people who are infected with mumps show very mild or no symptoms
Mumps symptoms begin 12-25 days after exposure to the virus
How can I contract mumps?
By coming into contact with the saliva of an infected person
Where can I contract it?
It’s a global problem
Epidemics occur every 2-5 years
What vaccines are available?
Children born in Canada receive the mumps vaccine as part of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) immunization
Since 1996 children get the MMR vaccine in 2 doses
The first at age 1, the second at age 5
If you are pregnant you should not get the vaccine because it contains a weakened version of live rubella virus which could pose a risk to your unborn child
How many shots will I need?
In British Columbia, it is recommended that people born after 1956 get 2 doses of the vaccine unless you know you had the diseases for sure
Will I need a booster?
No, providing you have had two doses of the MMR vaccine
How can I prevent mumps?
Avoid personal contact with anyone who has mumps
Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often
Keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers available for times when it is not convenient to wash your hands
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Keep shared surfaces clean and disinfected
Don’t share personal items such as utensils or drinks
What is the treatment?
There is no treatment except supportive and symptomatic care
In most cases, people recover from mumps with rest and care at home
You should stay home for at least 5 days after your glands swell
In complicated cases a hospital stay may be required