Mumps is a viral infection that causes swelling of one or more of the saliva (spit) glands, usually the parotid glands (in your cheeks in front of the ears). About one of three cases of mumps show no obvious symptoms. Mumps can cause swelling of the testes, ovaries, or breast tissue one week after the parotid gland swelling. These are more common with young adults and adults with mumps. Mumps rarely causes much in the way of cough, runny nose, and congestion. It commonly causes achiness, low grade fever, tiredness, and decreased appetite. Mumps is spread person-to-person by sharing cups, utensils, kissing, etc. Children with mumps are contagious for a few days ahead of the symptoms starting and 5 days after the swelling of the parotid glands.
The vaccine for prevention of the mumps became available in the 1960s and by 1977 was a routine part of the vaccine schedule in the United States. Since then, the chances of getting mumps in this country has plummeted to a low "normal" of 200-300 cases across the country each year. In some years there have been as many as 1000-6000 cases, especially amongst college students. Although those children and adults who are not vaccinated are more prone to develop the mumps, in outbreaks many of those that develop have been vaccinated. The vaccine provides very good but not perfect protection.
Because of the success of the vaccine, we have never had a confirmed case of the mumps seen by Hilliard Pediatrics. That continues to be true as April 15, 2014 -- despite the recent outbreak in Central Ohio. Currently the recommendation is to not change anything about the timing of the two mumps vaccines -- giving in combination with the measles and rubella vaccines at 12 months of age and 5 years of age. Although the recommendation would be for those with just one MMR vaccine and past the age of 5 years to receive a second dose now, no other recommendations are made at this time.
We do want to see children with symptoms that could be mumps. There is testing available that can confirm that it indeed is mumps. The symptoms of sore throat and fever are treated, but generally the illness passes on its own without other complications.
Keep vaccinating your children.
UPDATE: As of May 21, 2014, we do have a teenager in the practice that we are highly suspicious that he has mumps. He attends a Hilliard high school.
As of May 30, 2014, we have now seen two cases of mumps. Initially, the lab work to confirm that it was mumps was paid for the CDC or NIH. Now it is not. And the testing costs as much as $400-600 and takes 10-14 days to come back. So we are not gong to routinely test to confirm that the cases we see are indeed the mumps.