As a follow up to our recent post about #ConCrud at comic, anime & furry #conventions, potentially 230,000 people may have been exposed to #mumps at a Texas cheerleading competition in February of this year. Of those, more than 25,000 of the attendees were athletes and coaches, according to the National Cheerleading Association (NCA).
Mumps is an extremely contagious viral infection of the salivary glands that most commonly affects children. While most people born after 1957 have been vaccinated against mumps, measles and rubella (MMR), a few hundred cases of mumps usually occur each year. Large outbreaks of mumps occurred in the United States in 2006 and 2009–10 with more than 6,000 and 3,000 cases (respectively) reported in those years. A mumps outbreak at Penn State University infected 86 people.
While no specific cases of illness were reported as of the time that the CNN article was written on March 9, 2018 regarding the NCA cheerleading competition last month, the incubation period for mumps can range anywhere from 12 to 25 days. Typically, symptoms appear between 16 and 18 days of exposure and infection according to the CDC.
The most common symptoms for mumps include:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)
Parotitis occurs only in 31% to 65% of individuals infected with mumps. From 15% to 27% of people with mumps will have no signs or symptoms of illness; others may have respiratory symptoms or only nonspecific symptoms such as headache, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. Thus, not everyone may know that they are sick or that the sickness that they have is mumps.
How Mumps Spreads
Mumps spreads from person to person via droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when the person coughs, sneezes, or talks. The virus may also be spread indirectly when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and then someone else touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose. Mumps is less contagious than measles or chickenpox.
Mumps Complications for Adults
While mumps is usually a mild disease for children, adults may have more serious disease and potentially more complications.
Post-puberty males could experience orchitis (testicular inflammation) as a complication of mumps. This may involve pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, and fever, with tenderness of the area possibly lasting for weeks. Approximately half of patients with orchitis have some degree of testicular atrophy, but sterility is rare.
In females who are post-puberty, inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) can occur. An increase in spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) has been found among women who developed mumps during the first trimester of pregnancy in some studies but not in others. There is no evidence that mumps causes birth defects.
Deafness, in one or both ears, can occur in approximately one per 20,000 reported cases of mumps.
People who Need Secondary MMR Vaccinations
Adults who are at a higher risk of exposure to measles, mumps, and/or rubella and may need a second dose of MMR vaccine unless they have other evidence of immunity; this includes adults who are:
- Students in postsecondary educational institutions (for measles and mumps)
- Healthcare personnel (for measles and mumps).
- Living in a community experiencing an outbreak or recently exposed to the disease (for measles and mumps).
- People planning to travel internationally (for measles and mumps)
- People who received inactivated (killed) measles vaccine or measles vaccine of unknown type during 1963-1967 should be revaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine.
- People vaccinated before 1979 with either killed mumps vaccine or mumps vaccine of unknown type who are at high risk for mumps infection (e.g., people who are working in a healthcare facility) should be considered for revaccination with 2 doses of MMR vaccine.
Mumps Cases in the U.S. by Year
Mumps Cases by State as of May 1, 2017
- Tis’ the Season of Con-Crud
- Thousands may have been exposed to mumps at a national cheerleading contest
- Signs & Symptoms of Mumps
- What to know about mumps
- Penn State University’s mumps outbreak up to 86 cases