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Mumps & Mumps Vaccine Quick Facts


mumps disease
Image source: CDC PHIL
  • Mumps is a contagious viral infection and symptoms begin with a headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite1. A stiff neck just before, during or after mumps infection is a sign that aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain) may have developed, which is a rare complication of mumps2;
  • Mumps virus can be found in the saliva, throat and urine of an infected person and mumps is usually spread through the air by respiratory droplets or by contact with the saliva of an infected person3;
  • The time between when a person comes into contact with a person infected with mumps and first begins to experience symptoms of mumps (incubation period) ranges from 12 to 25 days4. The illness lasts for an average 7-10 days but may last longer before symptoms completely disappear5;
  • The typical “signature” physical sign of mumps is visible swelling of one or both sides of the face under the ears and chin.6 Males, who are past puberty, can experience pain and extreme swelling of the testes and rarely, become sterile.7 Mumps is very rarely fatal8;
  • There is no specific treatment for mumps except alleviation of symptoms with rest, pain relievers and cool compresses9

Mumps Vaccine

  • Currently there are two mumps containing vaccines available in the U.S.  MMR II,10 manufactured by Merck, containing live attenuated measles, mumps, and rubella; and ProQuad (MMR-V),11 also manufactured by Merck, containing live attenuated measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella.  The CDC recommends that children get two doses of a Mumps containing vaccine with the first dose given between ages 12-15 months, and the second dose given between ages 4-6 years;12
  • Common side effects from the MMR or MMR-V vaccine include low-grade fever, skin rash, itching, hives, swelling, reddening of skin, and weakness. Reported serious adverse reactions following MMR and MMR-V vaccination include seizures, brain inflammation and encephalopathy; thrombocytopenia; joint, muscle and nerve pain; gastrointestinal disorders; measles like rash; conjunctivitis and other serious health problems;13 14
  • Since 2006, multiple outbreaks of mumps have occurred in the U.S. and abroad in vaccinated children and young adults, occurring often on college campuses.15 In 2017, the CDC recommended a third dose of a mumps containing vaccine to be administered in the event of an outbreak.16 Numerous studies examining mumps outbreaks that have occurred in highly vaccinated populations have experts suggesting that both the waning of vaccine induced immunity and an ineffective mumps vaccine may be to blame.17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24           
  • In 2010, new information questioning the efficacy of the mumps portion of MMR vaccine emerged when two former Merck employees filed a lawsuit alleging the company altered testing results and studies to make the mumps vaccine in MMR appear to be more effective than it really is in preventing mumps infection. Court proceedings on the case were expected to begin in 2018,25 however, have been delayed until late 2019 and is still pending.
  • Using the MedAlerts search engine, as of May 31, 2019, there have been more than 94,223 reports of mumps vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following mumps vaccination made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 432 related deaths, 6,986 hospitalizations, and 1,797 related disabilities.
  • As of July 1, 2019, there had been 1,107 claims filed in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for injuries and deaths following mumps-containing vaccination, including 63 deaths and 1,044 serious injuries.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA) 

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Vaccine Reaction Symptoms & Ingredients

Our Ask 8, If You Vaccinate webpage contains vaccine reaction symptoms and more.

Search for Vaccine Reactions

NVIC hosts MedAlerts, a powerful VAERS database search engine. MedAlerts examines symptoms, reactions, vaccines, dates, places, and more.

Reporting a Vaccine Reaction

Since 1982 NVIC has operated a Vaccine Reaction Registry, which has served as a watchdog on VAERS. Reporting vaccine reactions to VAERS is the law. If your doctor will not report a reaction, you have the right to report a suspected vaccine reaction to VAERS.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Mumps and the Mumps vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

« Return to Mumps Table of Contents

« Return to Vaccines & Diseases Table of Contents


1 CDC. Signs & Symptoms of Mumps. Jul. 27, 2016

2 CDC. Complications of Mumps. Jul. 27, 2016

3 CDC. Mumps - Pathogenesis Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.

4 CDC. Signs & Symptoms of Mumps. Jul. 27, 2016

5 National Institute of Health (NIH) Mumps Summary. MedlinePlus. Apr. 30, 2018

6 CDC Signs and Symptoms of Mumps. Jul. 27, 2016

7 CDC. Mumps - Complications Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.

8 Ibid

9 Mayo Clinic Mumps treatment. Aug. 12, 2015

10 FDA Measles, Mumps and Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live  May 16, 2017

11 FDA PROQUAD. May 16, 2017

12 CDC Prevention of Measles, Rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, and Mumps, 2013: Summary Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. June 14, 2013; 62(RR04);1-34

13 FDA Measles, Mumps and Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live  May 16, 2017

14 FDA PROQUAD. May 16, 2017

15 CDC Mumps Cases and Outbreaks. Jun. 27, 2018

16 CDC Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus–Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak. MMWR Jan. 12, 2018; 67(1);33–38

17 Principi N, Esposito S. Mumps outbreaks: A problem in need of solutions. J Infect. 2018 Jun;76(6):503-506

18 Fields VS, Safi H, Waters C et al. Mumps in a highly vaccinated Marshallese community in Arkansas, USA: an outbreak report. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Feb;19(2):185-192

19 L’Huillier AG, Eshaghi A,Racey CS et al. Laboratory testing and phylogenetic analysis during a mumps outbreak in Ontario, Canada Virol J. 2018; 15: 98.

20 Lewnard JA, Grad, YH Vaccine waning and mumps re-emergence in the United States Sci Transl Med. 2018 Mar 21; 10(433): eaao5945.

21 Dayan GH, Quinlisk MP, Parker AA et al. Recent resurgence of mumps in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2008 Apr 10;358(15):1580-9.

22 Dayan GH, Rubin S Mumps outbreaks in vaccinated populations: are available mumps vaccines effective enough to prevent outbreaks? Clin. Infect. Dis. 2008; 47: 1458–1467

23 Peltola H, Kulkarni PS, Kapre SV et al. Mumps outbreaks in Canada and the United States: time for new thinking on mumps vaccines. Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Aug 15;45(4):459-66

24 Choi KM. Reemergence of mumps. Korean J Pediatr. 2010 May; 53(5): 623–628.

25 Mulder JT. Syracuse University mumps outbreak: Whistleblowers say vaccine is flawed. Syracuse.com. Nov. 14, 2017

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