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If your child has either had mumps or has received the mumps vaccine when he/she was 15 months of age or older, the chance of him/her developing mumps in extremely low.  If, however, your child has not had mumps and has not been vaccinated, then it is quite possible that he/she might get mumps.


What is Mumps?

Mumps is a viral infection.  Symptoms include fever, headache and swelling of cheek and jaw.  Meningitis (inflammation of the brain itself) and deafness can occur.  In adolescent and adult males mumps can cause inflammation of the testicles (orchitis), but, contrary to popular belief it is not a frequent cause of infertility.  Mumps in early pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.  Children are infectious for up to 7 days before the cheek swelling appears and remain infectious for 9 days after symptoms develop.  Symptoms can develop from 12 to 25 days after exposure.


What should I do now?

If you child has either received mumps vaccine or has had mumps there is no need for concern.  If your child has not received the vaccine and has not had mumps, then you should bring them to the doctor  for vaccination.  The vaccine will not protect them if they have been exposed this time.  But will protect them from future exposures.


What should I do if I think my child has mumps?

If your child develops swelling of the cheeks and jaw line bring them to your doctor for examination.  He/she will be able to tell you if it looks like mumps and will advise you what to do.  There is no specific treatment for mumps.


Can my child stay in school?

To prevent spread of mumps to others, your child must stay at home for 9 days after the symptoms develop.


How can I stop mumps spreading in the family?

Anyone who has neither had mumps nor received mumps vaccine should go to their family doctor for vaccination.


Thank you for giving this your attention.  Your family doctor and local health clinic will be able to answer any further questions that you might have about mumps and the mumps vaccine.

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