Mumps (Parotitis)

What is mumps?

Mumps is an infection of the salivary glands caused by a virus.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, and swelling of the glands close to the jaw.

Are there any complications that can occur?

Complications that can occur with mumps include meningitis, inflammation of the testicles or ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas, and deafness, usually permanent.

How is mumps spread?

Mumps is spread by sneezing and coughing. It is about as contagious as the flu or rubella, but less so than chickenpox or measles. Incubation period from exposure to mumps to appearance of symptoms is about 15-18 days (range 14-25). It is generally transmitted from about 3 days before symptoms appear to about 4 days after, although the virus has been isolated in saliva as early as 7 days before the onset of symptoms to as late as 9 days after their onset. There has recently been an increase in mumps cases among 18-25 year olds in the midwest, even those who received at least one MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine previously.

Is there a vaccine to prevent mumps?

Measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine contains mumps vaccine. It is available at CMU Health Services, Central Michigan District Health Department, and some physician office practices.

As an adult, should I be immunized against mumps?

As an adult, you do NOT need the MMR (including the mumps vaccine) if:

  • You have had blood tests (immune titers) that show you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella
  • You are a man born before 1957
  • You are a woman born before 1957 who is sure she is not having any more children, has already had rubella vaccine, or has had a positive rubella test
  • You have already had two doses of MMR or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles vaccine
  • You already had one dose of MMR and are not at high risk of measles or mumps exposure.

As an adult, you SHOULD get the MMR (including the mumps vaccine) if you are NOT among the categories listed above and:

  • You were born after 1956 and have had no or only 1 previous MMR (or mumps vaccine) injection
  • You are a college student, trade school student or other student beyond high school
  • You work in a hospital or other health care facility
  • You travel internationally or are a passenger on a cruise ship
  • You are a woman of childbearing age.

For additional information

National Immunization Program (NIP):

University Health Services, Foust 200, 989-774-6591, e-mail:

    We're open Monday through Friday, 8:00
    a.m.-5:00 p.m., in Foust Hall. For
    appointments, call (989) 774-5693.
Central Michigan University • 1200 S. Franklin St. • Mount Pleasant, Mich. 48859 • 989-774-4000