Algoma Public Health


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What is mumps?

Mumps is an acute infectious disease caused by the mumps virus. It is characterized by swelling of one or more of the salivary glands, most commonly the parotid glands (parotitis)


What are the symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Painful swelling of one or both salivary glands (located within your cheek, near your jaw line, below your ears).
  • Complications can include meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord), swelling of the testicles, swelling of the ovaries or the pancreas, and hearing loss. Infection in women in the first trimester of pregnancy can result in miscarriage.

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 How quickly do symptoms develop?

Usually within 2 weeks (can range from 14-25 days).


How is it spread?

By direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person, spread through coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks, or kissing, or from contact with any surface that has been contaminated with the mumps virus.


How long is it contagious?

From 7 days before to 5 days after symptoms develop.


How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for mumps


What can you do?

  • Ensure that your child’s mumps vaccination (given as MMR) is up to date.  Adults, who have not had mumps disease or have never been vaccinated with a mumps-containing vaccine, can be vaccinated as well. Women should not be vaccinated if pregnant.
  • If you suspect mumps, see a doctor (call ahead to let the office know that you’re coming).  
  • While infectious, do not go back to childcare, school or other public places. Avoid contact with infants and pregnant women and individuals with a weakened immune system.


Date of Creation: June 1, 2015

Last Modified: June 1, 2015