Mumps spreads easily from person to person through infected saliva. You can contract mumps by breathing in saliva droplets of an infected person who has just sneezed or coughed. You can also contract mumps from sharing utensils or cups with someone who has mumps.
The virus is the most common among children between the ages 5-12. Once someone has the disease and fight it off, it is not possible to get the disease again.
The most common symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)
Symptoms appear about 2 weeks after exposed to virus. Some people who get the mumps virus show little to no symptoms, sometimes not realizing they carry the virus.
The virus used to be very common among Northern American countries in the US and Canada, and other countries across Europe. Now with the vaccine a standard procedure of children in these countries, the virus is not very common.
Since 1967, the mumps vaccine has been given to children at 12 to 15 months of age, and a second dose is given around the start of kindergarten. The double dose is about 88% effective and has reduced the amount of cases of mumps in children by 99%.