What is mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection causing swelling of the salivary glands. It is spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva. Typically the virus starts with fever, headache, muscle pain and loss of appetite followed by swollen salivary glands.

How is mumps spread?

Mumps is spread through contact with one’s saliva. You can come into contact with mumps by breathing in saliva droplets of an infected person through a cough or sneeze. It is best to avoid sharing food or drinks with an infected person.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Symptoms typically occur two to three weeks after you have been exposed to the virus. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever and headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of salivary glands and cheeks
  • Swollen and painful testicles/ovaries

What are the risks of mumps?

Although complications from mumps are rare, if they do occur they can be serious. Complications can include swelling of the brain (encephalitis), testicles or ovaries. Death related to mumps infection happens in about 1 out of every 1,000 cases.

How can I prevent getting mumps?

The best way to prevent mumps is to get the MMR (measles mumps and rubella) vaccine. Mumps is combined with measles and rubella to maximize protection against several diseases with one shot. The MMR vaccine is safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get mumps disease. When you get immunized you help to protect others as well.

Who should get the mumps vaccine?

The mumps vaccine is free and is given to children as a series of two doses. The first dose is given at 12 months of age; a second dose is given starting at 4 years of age. Older children and adults can receive the vaccine if they have not been immunized and have no history of disease.

Get immunized against mump by making an appointment with your doctor, pharmacist (for those 5 years and older) or Public Health.

To book an immunization appointment with Public Health:

Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906

Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087 


For more information about mumps and the MMR vaccine, go to:

I Need To...