What is mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. People with mumps can spread the virus to others when they

  • Cough, sneeze, or talk.
  • Share items that have saliva on them (e.g., water bottles or cups).
  • Participate in close-contact activities (e.g., playing sports, dancing, or kissing).

Mumps symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender glands under the ears or jaw on one or both sides of the face (parotitis). Most people with mumps recover fully. However, mumps infection can occasionally cause complications, such as swelling of the brain, testicles, ovaries, or breasts. It can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Who is at risk?

Information by Destination
woman in airport

Where are you going?

Mumps remains a common disease in many countries therefore travelers who are not vaccinated are at risk for getting mumps. Mumps outbreaks are more common among groups of people who have frequent, close contact with each other, such as college students, sports teams, or community groups (e.g., church members).

What can travelers do to prevent mumps?

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against mumps. Mumps vaccine is routinely given to children in the United States. The vaccine is given in two doses: children usually get the first dose at 12 to 15 months old and the second dose when they are 4 to 6 years old. Mumps vaccine is a combination vaccine that also protects against measles and rubella (MMR vaccine) or measles, rubella, and varicella (MMRV vaccine).

If you were born in or after 1957 and have never had mumps or have never been vaccinated against mumps, you should get vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine before you travel, with the second dose given at least 28 days after the first dose.

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get one dose MMR vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Sometimes, vaccine protection can decrease over time. Disease symptoms for previously vaccinated people who get mumps are milder and complications are less frequent.

CAUTION: Pregnant people should NOT get MMR vaccine. Any unvaccinated person should get the MMR vaccine immediately after their pregnancy.

Avoid getting pregnant for at least 4 weeks after receiving MMR vaccine.

After Travel


If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your travel. 

If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care During Travel.


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