Preparedness Empowers You

It saves lives, property, and time.

Emergencies happen, often with little or no notice. By taking action beforehand you can be prepared for any emergency.

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Republic of the Philippines (April 18, 2009) A pediatric physician from Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines feels the parotid glands of a child with mumps during a medical civic action program during Exercise Balikatan 2009 in Limpapa, Zamboanga. (U.S. Navy photo by Lieutenant Lara R. Bollinger/Released) 090418-N-9204B-001

Mumps is an acute viral illness caused by the mumps virus. While there are fewer than 300 cases in the United States each year, some cases can be extremely dangerous. Complications can cause inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue, spinal cord, testicles, ovaries, and/or breasts, as well as spontaneous abortions and permanent deafness.

Transmission (Spread of the Disease)

  • Mumps is spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions or saliva.
  • While you may contract mumps year-round, it is a seasonal disease with peaks in late winter and early spring.
  • People infected with the virus are contagious three days before they begin showing symptoms and up to nine days after they begin showing symptoms.


  • The incubation time of the virus—the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms—is usually 16–18 days.
  • Mumps initially presents with flu-like symptoms, including headache, fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite.
  • Painful swelling of the parotid salivary glands (located inside the cheek underneath the ears, near the jaw line) is the most prominent symptom of mumps, occurring in 30%–40% of cases.
  • Approximately 20% of those infected with mumps never show symptoms.

Treatment and Prevention

  • There is currently no specific treatment for mumps.
  • Experts recommend two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to most effectively ensure immunization to the virus.
  • Vaccination should ideally be completed during childhood, but may be administered at any age.

Where to Find Additional Information


Be Ready Navy—Be informed before, during, and after an incident; make a written family emergency plan; and build an emergency supply kit good for at least three days.

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