Outbreaks of mumps have been occurring at many colleges and universities in the Eastern and Midwestern United States, and now in San Diego. Read this information from the Centers for Disease Control.
What is mumps?
Mumps is a viral infection which may cause tender swelling of the glands in the face, along with muscle aches, headache and fever. Complications can sometimes develop.
Transmission of mumps virus occurs by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva. The incubation period is generally 16-18 days (range 12-25 days) from exposure to onset of symptoms. People with mumps are usually considered most infectious from a few days before until 5 days after the onset of facial swelling (parotitis). Therefore, CDC recommends isolating mumps patients for 5 days after their glands begin to swell.
Post-high school educational institutions such as colleges and universities are at increased risk for mumps transmission because these communities are highly mobile yet tend to concentrate large numbers of persons in living, learning, and social environments. In addition, interactions of students during sporting or other inter-collegiate events and mass mobilization of students during holidays (e.g., spring break in March and April) are opportunities for transmission among college students from geographically diverse parts of the country and world.
Some things people can do to help prevent the spread of mumps and other infections include:
- Wash your hands well and often with soap, and teach children to wash their hands too.
- Do not share eating or drinking utensils.
- Clean surfaces that are frequently touched (toys, doorknobs, tables, and counters) with soap and water or cleaning wipes.
- Minimize close contact with other people if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Check your vaccination status (high schools often have retained records, as well as your primary care physician's office).
- If you have received zero or only one dose of mumps vaccine, we strongly encourage a second dose.
- MMR and other non-travel immunizations are available through the