Questions & Answers
Mumps - The Disease
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Rate and Spread

  1. How common is mumps in the United States?
    Mumps is now rare in the United States because of childhood immunization. An estimated 212,000 cases occurred in 1964, while only 266 cases were reported in 2001. However, mumps virus is still present in the United States and the world, and the number of cases would quickly begin to climb if mumps immunization rates decline. A current outbreak in the Midwest beginning in December 2005 resulted in 605 suspect, probable, or confirmed cases as of April 2006.

  2. How does mumps spread from one person to another?
    Mumps is spread by mucus or droplets from the nose or throat of infected people, usually by sneezing or coughing. Surfaces of items (such as toys) can also spread the virus if someone who is sick touches the object without washing their hands. If someone else then touches the same surface and then rubs their nose, mouth, eyes, etc. they too may be infected (this is called transmission by fomites).

  3. How long does it take to show signs of mumps after being exposed?
    The incubation period of mumps is 14-18 days, but can range from 14-25 days

  4. Can a person get mumps more than once?
    Most people who have mumps are protected (immune) from getting mumps again. There are a small number of people who could be reinfected with mumps and have a milder illness.

  5. How long is someone with mumps contagious?
    The infectious period lasts approximately seven days. The infectious period is considered to be between three days before symptoms begin and the ninth day following the onset of symptoms.