2016-2017 Washington Mumps Outbreak

Everyone can help stop this disease from spreading:

  • Make sure you and your family are up to date on measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of mumps.
  • If you suspect mumps, call the doctor or clinic right away. Tell the staff you suspect mumps as they may want to have you wait in a separate area or come in another way to keep from spreading mumps to other people.

About Mumps

King County Mumps Facts Sheet (English)

King County Mumps Facts Sheet (Multilingual)

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It is mostly spread by coughing and sneezing, or other contact with saliva from someone who is infected. It is as contagious as the flu.

There is no treatment for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems. But there is prevention. It’s important for everyone to get the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the mumps virus to others.

The MMR vaccine is not perfect, but it is the best protection we have against mumps. Two doses gives lifelong protection against mumps to 88%, or about 9 out of 10 people. This means about 12 out of every 100 vaccinated people are still vulnerable to mumps, especially if they have prolonged, close exposure to someone who is contagious. That’s why it’s important for everyone to get the vaccine, to protect both those people for whom the vaccine might not work, and those who can’t be vaccinated. This helps to keep outbreaks small and easily controlled.

Those who get the mumps even when fully vaccinated may experience milder illness and fewer complications. Without the vaccine, we would see many more cases of the mumps and many more cases with complications or severe symptoms.

Symptoms Of Mumps

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of the cheeks, neck, or jaw, though not everyone experience this

Some people get no symptoms at all. Symptoms of mumps generally last from one week to ten days. There is no specific treatment for mumps.

If You Think You Or Your Child Has Mumps

  • Do not go to work, school, or public places.
  • Call your clinic or doctor before going in, and tell them you or your child may have mumps. They may not want you to sit in the waiting area. Instead they may ask you to come into the clinic or doctor’s office another way. These steps will keep from spreading mumps to other people.
  • Stay home and away from other people until you can see a doctor. This includes staying away from family as much as possible so they don’t get sick.

Mumps Vaccine

The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is recommended for:

  • Babies and children need two doses:
  • The first dose at age 12 through 15 months
  • The second dose at 4 through 6 years
  • Note: If your family is traveling overseas, babies and children may need to have their doses earlier. Talk to your healthcare provider before you travel.
  • Adults born after 1956
  • People at higher risk of getting these diseases (healthcare workers, college students, international travelers)

MMR is particularly important for women who may get pregnant because rubella can cause serious birth defects. You cannot get the MMR vaccine during pregnancy.

Visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder and type in your zip code to find out where you can get the MMR vaccine.

Additional Resources

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