Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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One of the best ways to protect children from mumps and other vaccine-preventable diseases is to vaccinate them on time. Check your child’s medical records to see if he or she is up to date on vaccinations.
Mumps is usually thought of as a childhood disease. The mumps virus affects the saliva glands, causing the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that used to be almost a routine part of childhood. This scene became less common after the mid-1960s, when a vaccine was developed against mumps. With widespread use of the vaccine, many parents today don’t know about mumps.
Mumps Virus Is Still Around—Vaccine Can Limit Its Spread
But mumps has not disappeared from the United States. Each year since 2000, a few hundred to a few thousand cases have been reported to public health agencies. In 2006, an outbreak of mumps focused in the Midwest affected more than 6,000 people. Public health experts believe that the high tw0-dose vaccine coverage greatly limited the size of the outbreak—without that coverage, there might have been tens or even hundreds of thousands of cases.
From June 2009 through June 2010, a mumps outbreak occurred in the Northeast, with more than 3,500 people infected. Most of them were vaccinated, but, as in 2006, the outbreak would have been a lot larger without the high vaccine coverage in the affected communities. Group settings where people had close contact for long periods of time may have made it easier for the disease to spread in both the 2006 and the 2009–2010 mumps outbreaks.
Mumps Is Usually Mild, but Can Cause Serious Problems
Mumps virus usually causes fever, general discomfort, and (in most, but not all cases) the characteristic swollen jaw. Complications can occur and might be more severe in teenagers and adults. Mumps can cause headache and stiff neck (called meningitis), inflammation of the testicles (called orchitis), deafness, and, in rare cases, inflammation of the brain (called encephalitis), which can lead to permanent disabilities or even death.
The Best Protection against Mumps—the MMR or MMRV Vaccine
The mumps vaccine was licensed in vaccine in 1967 and is included in MMR, a combination vaccine that provides protection against 3 viral diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The MMR vaccine is strongly endorsed by medical and public health experts as safe and effective.
In the United States, 2 doses are recommended for children:
the first dose at 12–15 months of age and the second dose before entering school, at 4–6 years of age.
Your child’s doctor may also offer the MMRV vaccine, a combination vaccine that provides protection against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). MMRV vaccine is licensed for children 12 months to 12 years of age and may be used in place of MMR vaccine if varicella vaccination is needed in addition to measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. Your child’s doctor can help you decide which vaccine to use.
See if your child’s vaccine is due:
Check your child’s immunization record, Contact their health care provider, or Visit the immunization scheduler for newborn to 6-year-old children. Paying for Vaccines
Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines, but you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. If you don’t have insurance, or if it does not cover vaccines, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program may be able to help.
The VFC Program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise be able to get vaccinated. The Program provides vaccines at no cost to doctors who serve eligible children. Children younger than 19 years of age are eligible for VFC vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, Alaska Native, or have no health insurance. "Underinsured" children who have health insurance that does not cover vaccination can receive VFC vaccines through federally qualified health centers or rural health centers. Parents of uninsured or underinsured children who receive vaccines at no cost through the VFC Program should check with their health care providers about possible administration (admin) fees that might apply. These fees help providers cover the costs that result from important services, such as storing the vaccines and paying staff members to give vaccines to patients. However, VFC vaccines can’t be denied to an eligible child if a family can’t afford the admin fees.
Some Adults Need MMR Vaccine Too!
Anyone born during or after 1957 who hasn’t had mumps or hasn’t been vaccinated is at risk of getting mumps and should receive at least one dose of MMR vaccine. Some adults need 2 doses of the vaccine because they’re at higher risk of getting the disease. They include college, trade-school, and training-program students, international travelers, and health care workers.