Identification and Definition

Mumps is an acute viral illness that has no cure. While rarely deadly, Mumps may cause painful swelling in several areas, and also cause "chipmunk cheeks." Mumps spreads easily and is preventable by a series of vaccinations.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms may appear between 12-25 days after exposure. Although some people experience no or mild symptoms most people recover within a few weeks.

Common symptoms include:

* Fever

* Tiredness

* Muscle aches

* Headache

* Swollen/tender salivary glands (parotitis)

Disease History

In the 5th century Hippocrates described symptoms of Mumps such as parotitis and orchitis. Mumps was shown to be transmittable in 1934, by Johnson and Goodpasture. A common cause of meningitis and childhood deafness in the pre-vaccine era. Since the vaccine era Mumps has decreased by 99% in the U.S., although there have been several notable outbreaks in 2006, 2009-10, and 2014. The number of incidences in the U.S. in 2014 is reported by CDC as 1,151.


Persons infected with the Mumps should avoid contact with others until at least 5 days after onset of parotitis. Long and close contact with infected persons increases the risk of transmission.

Mumps is transmitted via:

* Respiratory droplet contact

* Saliva

* Fomites


Complications of Mumps are:

* Orchitis (testicular inflammation) 12% - 66% in post-pubertal males

* Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) 3.5%

* Unilateral Deafness 1/20,000

* Death 2/10,000 from 1966-1971

Also notable, in the pre-vaccine era Mumps was responsible for approximately 10% of symptomatic aseptic meningitis.

Current and Recommended Control Measures

In the U.S. approximately 212,000 cases of Mumps occurred in 1964 before vaccination and about 3,000 cases occurred annually between 1983-1985, according to CDC. While many countries worldwide don't have reportable numbers, the WHO listed China as having 187,500 cases of Mumps in 2014.

Vaccination for Mumps is recommended for children after age 12 months with a second dose to follow between the ages of 4-6. The Mumps vaccine is available as a combination shot MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) or as MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella).

Precautions for the vaccine include: anaphylactic reactions to neomycin, allergies to any vaccine components, pregnancy, illness, recent blood transfusions, and immunosuppression.


In recent years the U.S. has experienced several outbreaks of Mumps, in 2004, 2009-10, and 2014. Mumps was listed in as a reemerging pathogen in our textbook, Infectious Diseases, although I was unable to find support for this online. According to the WHO, China reported 187,500 cases of Mumps in 2014. Worldwide there are countries that report cases in the thousands while many other countries show no data for Mumps. Considering worldwide travel is fairly common and the fact that the Mumps virus spreads so easily, I believe that this vaccination should be mandated in the U.S. for those well enough to receive it. The Mumps vaccination currently prevents a large amount of children from missing school, experiencing unnecessary pain, and being exposed to complications such as deafness or death. Considering the recommended 5 day isolation period and the time that symptoms may be in effect, the reduction of Mumps increases economic productivity by reducing time spent caring for the children or adults who have contracted the disease.