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Mumps is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus. Initial symptoms include a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. The most recognizable symptom is puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw, which are caused by swelling of the salivary glands under one or both ears.

Symptoms typically appear 16-18 days after infection, but this period can range from 12–25 days after infection.

Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms, such as a cold, or no symptoms at all. They may not know they have the disease. In rare cases, mumps can cause more severe complications. Most people with mumps recover completely within two weeks.

Even though the mumps vaccine has drastically reduced cases, outbreaks still occur. Outbreaks have most commonly occurred among groups of people who have prolonged, close contact, such as sharing water bottles or cups, kissing, practicing sports together, or living in close quarters, with a person who has mumps. Some vaccinated people may still get mumps if they are exposed to the virus. However, disease symptoms are milder in vaccinated people.