Mumps is a contagious viral disease that is preventable with a vaccine. Doctors recommend that children should be immunized against mumps with the MMR vaccine (Measles-Mumps-Rubella).
Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by the mumps virus. The disease typically starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swelling of the salivary glands on the neck.
The mumps virus was isolated in 1945. The first inactivated mumps vaccine was developed in 1948, but it provided only short-term immunity. It was discontinued soon after the FDA approved Mumpsvax on March 30, 1967.
Mumpsvax is a live attenuated virus vaccine. It was developed by Dr. Maurice Hilleman from a mumps virus that infected his 5 year-old daughter Jeryl Lynn. Mumpsvax is no longer manufactured, but the “Jeryl Lynn” strain of the mumps virus is still used in vaccines today.
Most children in the U.S. are immunized against mumps with the MMR vaccine, a combination vaccine against mumps, measles and rubella. Two doses of the MMR vaccine protect about 90-95% of people against mumps for 20 years, but immunity gradually declines.
- M-M-R II® Vaccine (MMR Vaccine)
- Mumpsvax® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live) — No longer available as of 2009
- ProQuad® Vaccine (MMRV) — No longer sold in the U.S.
Mumpsvax® was discontinued in October 2009 by Merck & Co., the world’s only manufacturer of a single mumps vaccine. Merck stopped making Mumpvax due to low demand, and switched to MMR vaccines.
Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine starting at the age of 12 months old for the best protection against mumps.
Infants between 6 and 11 months old who are traveling internationally can get one dose of the MMR vaccine, followed by two more doses on the normal immunization schedule.
Mumps booster shots are not routinely recommended, but adults born before 1989 may need another shot of the MMR vaccine because they probably only got one dose in childhood. Two doses are recommended today.
- Pregnant women — Do not get pregnant within 3 months of vaccination
- Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, eggs, a previous dose of the MMR vaccine, or any other ingredient in the vaccine
- People who are moderately or severely sick — wait until they get better before getting the MMR vaccine
- People with a very weak immune system
- Tell your doctor if you have HIV/AIDS or other diseases that affect the immune system, on medications like steroids that affect the immune system, cancer or are undergoing chemotherapy, low platelet count (blood disorder), received another vaccine within 4 weeks, or received a blood transfusion
Two. The MMR vaccine is given in a series of two separate shots at least 4 weeks apart. Before 1989, only one dose of the MMR vaccine was recommended, but it was less effective than two doses.
The 1st shot of the MMR vaccine is given to children at 12-15 months of age. The 2nd shot is given at 4-6 years of age. The 2nd shot may be given earlier if it has been at least 28 days since the 1st shot.
The most common side effects of the mumps vaccine include fever, mild rash, and temporary swelling of the glands in the cheeks. Teenagers and adults are more likely to develop temporary pain and stiffness in the joints.
To learn more about the side effects associated with the mumps vaccine, please visit this page: Mumps Vaccine Side Effects.
It is very rare for the mumps vaccine to cause severe side effects, but there is a small risk of the following side effects:
- High fever causing seizure (1 in 3,000)
- Thrombocytopenia (1 in 30,000)
- Severe allergic reaction (less than 1 in 1,000,000)
- Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA)
Occasionally there are reports of children developing deafness, long-term seizures, coma, decreased level of consciousness, or permanent brain damage after the mumps vaccine. These side effects are so rare that it is unknown if they were caused by the mumps vaccine or something else.