Mumps – what you need to know

Increased mumps activity has been reported in some parts of the province and across Canada. There are currently no reported cases of mumps in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. Locally, mumps infection is rare, with the last confirmed cases seen in 2010. Here are some facts about the virus and steps you can take to protect you and your family from mumps infection.

What is mumps?

Mumps is a virus that spreads from person-to-person through coughing, sneezing, and having contact with a person’s saliva by sharing drinks or utensils, food or water bottles, or by kissing. Children as well as adults can get mumps.

Symptoms of mumps infection typically appear 16 to 18 days after being in contact with an infected person. Symptoms commonly include swelling of the salivary glands on either one or both sides of the cheeks and jaw, fever, headache, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can last up to 10 days.

Some people may have complications from the infection including swelling of other parts of the body (for example, painful swelling of the testicles), as well as hearing loss. Pregnant women who become infected with mumps during the first three months of pregnancy are at risk of miscarriage.

How can I protect myself from mumps?

Mumps is a vaccine-preventable disease.

Mumps vaccine is publicly funded (free) for children and youth. It is routinely given at 12 months (as MMR, or measles, mumps, rubella) and again at 4 to 6 years of age before starting school (as MMRV, where V is for varicella, or chickenpox). If you are a parent or guardian, check to make sure your children’s vaccinations are up-to-date.

Adults born between 1970 and 1992 in Ontario may have only received one dose of mumps containing vaccine. A second dose is recommended for adults in this age group who are post-secondary students or health care workers. Your healthcare provider may recommend a second dose based on a health assessment. Adults born before 1970 are assumed to be immune to mumps through natural infection.

Check with your health care provider to make sure your vaccines are up-to-date and get vaccinated if mumps is missing. That is the best way to protect yourself and your family from being infected. An infected person can easily spread mumps in crowded environments such classrooms, sports teams, and student residences, and vaccination is your best defense.

For more information about mumps and vaccination, visit the Health Unit’s website at www.sdhu.com or call 705.522.9200, ext. 301 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on March 24, 2017