Health Column: Mumps in La Crosse

By Sue Danielson

Mumps in La Crosse

The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse has had three cases of the mumps. All of these students were up-to-date on their vaccinations. Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands.

The most common symptoms include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides (parotitis)

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 or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease. Most people with mumps recover completely in a few weeks. Mumps can occasionally cause complications, especially in adults.

Complications include:

  • inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems
  • inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
  • inflammation of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)
  • inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breast tissue (mastitis)
  • deafness

Mumps can be prevented with MMR vaccine. This protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at four–six years of age. Teens and adults also should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

MMR vaccine is very safe and effective.

For more information, contact Health Services at 796-3806 or Information obtained from