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    Mumps FAQ

    Current Mumps Cases*

    Spokane County


    Vaccination Status Vaccinated (27)
    Unvaccinated (8)
    Vaccination Status Unknown (9)
    Age Ranges

    0-9 years old** (6)
    10-19 years old (20)
    20-29 years old (8)
    30-39 years old (4)
    40-49 years old (1)
    Age unknown pending investigation (5)

    *Confirmed and Probable Cases in Spokane County as of Jan. 16, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.
    **No cases have been indentfied in a child under the age of 2


    Current Status

    Spokane County is currently experiencing an outbreak of mumps. More cases are expected.

    Most people have immunity to the mumps through vaccination, so the risk to the general community of getting mumps is extremely low. But with confirmation of mumps virus in Spokane County, the health district is advising individuals to check their children’s and their own vaccination status and verify that they are up-to-date with the measles-mumps- rubella (MMR) vaccine.

    If your question is not answered in the below FAQ, please call Spokane Regional Health District at (509) 324-1550.

    Mumps Frequently Asked Questions

    What is mumps?
    What causes mumps?
    What are the symptoms?
    How long until mumps symptoms appear?
    How is mumps diagnosed?
    How is mumps treated?
    Who needs to be vaccinated against mumps?
    Where can people get vaccinated?
    Is the vaccine against mumps safe?
    If a person is vaccinated, aren't they protected against mumps?
    Where can I get a blood titer to see if I am already immune to mumps?
    Why is it important to prevent mumps?
    Is mumps a serious disease?
    What should people do when there is a confirmed case of mumps?
    What is Spokane Regional Health District’s role in responding to mumps cases?
    Exclusions and immunization documentation
    Related resources

    Adapted Sept. 19, 2016 from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and WebMD. Last updated Jan. 16, 2017

    Q: What is mumps?

    A: Mumps is a contagious viral infection that can cause painful swelling of the salivary glands, especially the parotid glands (between the ear and the jaw). Some people with mumps won't have gland swelling. They may feel like they have a bad cold or the flu instead.

    Mumps usually goes away on its own in about 10 days. But in some cases, it can cause complications that affect the brain, the testicles, the ovaries, or the pancreas.


    Q: What causes mumps?

    A: Mumps is a virus that is spread through exposure to an infected person’s respiratory droplets (created during a cough or sneeze), saliva, or mucus. Sharing cups and utensils may also spread the virus.

    Individuals are most likely to spread the virus three days before and five days after swelling starts. However, an individual can potentially spread the virus seven days before, and for nine days after, symptoms start.


    Q: What are the symptoms?

    A: Symptoms may include:

    • Swelling and pain in the jaw. One or both cheeks may look swollen.
    • Fever.
    • Headache, earache, sore throat, and pain when you swallow or open your mouth.
    • Pain when you eat sour foods or drink sour liquids, such as citrus fruit or juice.
    • Tired
    • Poor appetite.
    • Testicular pain (males) or pelvic discomfort (females).


    Q: How long until mumps symptoms appear?

    A: Symptoms will typically appear 16 to 18 days after being exposed to the virus, though can be anywhere between 12 and 25 days. This is called the incubation period. Some people who are infected with the mumps virus don't have any symptoms.

    If a person has more serious symptoms, such as a stiff neck or a severe headache, painful testicles, or severe belly pain, they should call a health care provider right away.


    Q: How is mumps diagnosed?

    A: Mumps is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and a history of exposure to the virus. If needed, a blood test can be done to confirm mumps and rule out other illnesses.

    The mumps virus can also be identified using a sample of urine, saliva, or cerebrospinal fluid. These tests are less frequently done.

    If an individual thinks he or she has mumps, they should be sure to call ahead and explain the symptoms before going to a health care provider's office. It's important to stay away from other people as much as possible to prevent spread of the disease.


    Q: How is mumps treated?

    A: In most cases, people recover from mumps with rest and care at home. In complicated cases, a hospital stay may be required.

    Anyone who has mumps should stay out of school, child care, work, and public places until five days after the salivary glands first started to swell.


    Q: Who needs to be vaccinated against mumps?

    A: All children (ages 12 months and over), adolescents, and adults born in 1957 or later without a valid contraindication should have documentation of vaccination or other evidence of immunity. Additionally, some healthcare personnel who were born before 1957 may also need proof of vaccination or other evidence of immunity.

    If a child or adult has had their recommended two doses of MMR vaccine, there is no recommendation at this time to revaccinate or to receive a “booster” third dose.

    Pregnant Women
    Pregnant women should not get MMR vaccine. Healthy household members and close contacts should all be vaccinated with MMR to protect the pregnant mother. Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine viruses are not transmitted from the vaccinated person, so MMR vaccination of a household contact does not pose a risk to a pregnant household member.

    Pregnant women who need the vaccine should wait until after giving birth. Based on CDC guidance, women should avoid getting pregnant for four weeks after vaccination with MMR vaccine. MMR can be given any time after delivery, even if the mother is breastfeeding, and is recommended before hospital discharge.

    Q: Where can people get vaccinated against mumps?

    • Many pharmacies* offer MMR vaccine and can bill insurance. Call first to make sure they have a supply on hand.
    • Check with your regular healthcare provider.
    • https://vaccinefinder.org

    Additionally, when Spokane Regional Health District works with its partners to offer no-cost clinics, they are posted at www.srhd.org.

    *There currently are no pharmacy locations providing no-cost vaccine and/or no-cost vaccine administration services. Spokane Regional Health District does not provide direct vaccination services at its facility.

    How much does an MMR vaccination cost?
    Varies by location and insurances, but usually between $23.44  and $114.


    Q: Is the vaccine against mumps safe?

    Hundreds of millions of doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine prepared either as separate vaccines or as the combined MMR have been given in the United States, and its safety record is excellent.

    Does the MMR vaccine make people sick?
    No, the MMR vaccine will not make you sick, it is a very safe and well-studied vaccine. There are, however, mild side effects that recipients can experience, including soreness and tenderness around the injection site and a low-grade fever. Very rarely children develop a mild rash about seven to 12 days after getting the vaccine. Children with this rash are not contagious to others, and the rash does not mean he or she should not get their needed second dose.

    Is the MMR vaccine a live virus?
    Yes, the MMR vaccine is a live, attenuated virus, meaning it is a weakened form of the natural measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. This form of vaccine produces immunity to the disease in the person who got the vaccine without suffering the effects and potential complications of acquiring the disease naturally.

    The MMR vaccine can be given to children who live with pregnant women or immuno-compromised people. To date, there have been no documented cases of transmission of the viruses from a recently vaccinated person to another person. 


    Q: If a person is vaccinated, aren't they protected against mumps?

    A: Mumps can be prevented with MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. Two doses of the vaccine are 88% (range: 66-95%) effective at preventing mumps; one dose is 78% (range: 49%−92%) effective.

    With mumps circulating at higher levels than usual, this means that in addition to the unvaccinated being at risk, 12% of vaccinated individuals are also at risk as they are not afforded immunity through vaccination. People who have received two doses of the MMR vaccine are still about nine times less likely to get mumps than unvaccinated people who have the same exposure to mumps virus.

    More people are vaccinated in Spokane County than those who are unvaccinated. If more of these vaccinated individuals are in close, prolonged contact with someone who is contagious, it follows that disease rates would be higher among the vaccinated. The reverse would be true if more unvaccinated people were in close, prolonged contact with the contagious.

    If a vaccinated person does get mumps, they will likely have less severe illness than an unvaccinated person. *Source CDC. Vaccination, and proper disease prevention etiquette (washing hands, avoiding contact with those if you or someone else is sick, staying home and resting) are the strongest tools a community has against outbreaks of communicable disease.


    Q: Where can I get a blood titer to see if I am already immune to mumps?

    A: If you have insurance and want the blood test covered, you must have a referral for laboratory test from a healthcare provider.

    If you are insterested in paying for this test out of pocket, you can schedule a test yourself at: https://www.gocinch.com/Details/Draw-Site/Measles-Mumps-Rubella-MMR.

    Keep in mind that getting an MMR vaccine often costs less than doing a blood titer test and that you may still need to be vaccinated if the blood titer shows that you are not immune.


    Q: Why is it important to prevent mumps?

    A: Getting vaccinated is important because mumps can sometimes cause serious problems. It is also important because mumps is a contagious disease and outbreaks can easily occur.


    Q: Is mumps a serious disease?

    A: Mumps can be serious, but most people with mumps recover completely within 10 days to a few weeks. While infected with mumps, many people feel tired and achy, have a fever, and swollen salivary glands on the side of the face. Others may feel extremely ill and be unable to eat because of jaw pain, and a few will develop serious complications. Men and adolescent boys can develop pain or swelling in their testicles, which rarely results in sterility. Inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and loss of hearing can also occur, and in rare cases, this hearing loss can be permanent. The most serious complication is inflammation of the brain, which can lead to death or permanent disability.


    Q: What should people do when there is a confirmed case of mumps?

    A: Individuals should make sure they are up to date on their MMR vaccine.

    Individuals also may have evidence of immunity to mumps.

    This evidence includes:

    • documentation of adequate vaccination*
    • laboratory evidence of immunity
    • birth before 1957
    • documentation of physician-diagnosed mumps
    • People should let a health care provider know right away if they believe they have mumps.

    * One dose of a live mumps virus vaccine for preschool-aged children and adults not at high-risk, and two doses for school-aged children and for adults at high-risk (health care workers, international travelers, and students at post-high school educational institutions).

    Q: What is Spokane Regional Health District’s role in responding to mumps cases?

    A: Local health departments like SRHD work closely with state public health, in this case, Washington State Department of Health, to investigate mumps cases when they occur. Together, they:

    • communicate with health care providers and offer technical assistance
    • arrange for testing clinical specimens from suspected mumps cases
    • alert clinicians and health care facilities about confirmed cases and testing recommendations
    • provide education and information to the public and health care providers through a variety of media including the SRHD website.

    Q: Questions about exemptions and immunization documentation

    A: Currently, several schools in multiple school districts are experiencing mumps outbreaks. Spokane Regional Health District, based on WAC 246-100-036 and WAC 246-110-020, has the authority to work with schools to enforce exclusions for staff and students if there are two ore more confirmed disease cases within the same building. These exclusions often only apply to the affected building.
    Exclusion is enforced 10 days after the initial exclusion letter is sent out. 

    The health district works with affected schools to notify affected families and staff.

    Why are school districts making everyone show proof of immunization even if a person does not work/attend affected school?
    School districts have the option to increase the level of exclusion to protect the school community, including implementing district-wide exclusion for staff and students. Students with any valid exemption on file for the vaccine used to prevent the disease involved in the outbreak (i.e., MMR vaccine for mumps outbreak), can be excluded for the duration of the outbreak as stated on the exemption form. This is a risk acknowledged by the parent/legal guardian’s signature on the exemption form.

    Because the mumps virus has the potential to infect the brain and cause permanent deafness, and the mumps vaccine does not have serious side effects, the benefits of the mumps vaccine outweigh its risks.

    I am unable to find my immunization records. What are my options?

    1. Contact your healthcare provider for a copy of your immunization history. Ask if these immunizations have been entered into the statewide immunization database known as the Immunization Information System (IIS). If not, request that they be added. Providers can then print a complete record from the IIS. This record is a lifetime record to which you can gain direct access through MyIR.
    2. Sign up for MyIR through the Washington State Department of Health to view, download, and print your and your family’s immunization records. All Washington residents born after 1996 have been automatically added to the IIS. Adult records may be more difficult to locate, although the IIS does have many records for patients who have received vaccines at pharmacies or for patients whose healthcare provider has added their vaccines to their IIS record.
    3. Seek MMR vaccine at a local pharmacy or healthcare provider’s office.
      1. If you have no insurance or insurance does not cover any vaccines, please call Spokane Mobile Clinic at 509-552-6292 for assistance in obtaining MMR at a reduced rate.
    4. Contact Spokane Regional Health District, who may be able to assist you if above options are exhausted.
    5. Seek a blood titer to determine your level of immunity to disease. If it meets guidelines for immunity, you can furnish this proof of immunity to your employer and healthcare provider. SRHD does not recommend titer as the first choice since it is costly and takes up to a week for results. There are no contraindications in receiving a MMR vaccine for anyone who is unable to demonstrate immunity.

    I don’t believe in vaccinations and I have an exemption form on file with my child’s school. I just received a letter telling me my child would be sent home because of the mumps outbreak. Why is my healthy child being penalized?
    Washington state law allows parents/caregivers to obtain a medical, philosophical, and/or religious exemption. Parents/caregivers must initial a declaration that they understand that the child may not be allowed to attend school or child care during an outbreak of the disease.

    The health district and schools are responsible for the safety of students and are required to implement safety and health procedures to protect them, including minimizing the risk of communicable disease.


    Related resources:

    Mumps Fact Sheet pdf (English) (Spanish) (Marshallese) (Vietnamese) (Ukranian) (Chinese)
    SRHD Mumps MMR Fact Sheet
    SRHD Mumps Infographic (pdf)
    SRHD Mumps Poster (pdf)
    DOH Mumps Web Page
    CDC Mumps Website


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    January 16, 2017