Mumps is caused be a paramyxovirus. For most people, an infection tends to cause a mild reaction that involves a headache, fever, and swelling within the salivary glands. Unfortunately, in about 15% of cases, instances of meningitis, encephalitis, or orchitis can also occur.
This means the mumps mortality rate is dependent on what complications occur because of the disease. From a global perspective, the overall mortality rate for mumps is just 1 in 10,000 cases. Mortality rates are higher when meningitis or encephalitis occur, but no data has been published regarding fatalities.
1 in 4 people who suffer a severe complication from mumps that includes a permanent brain injury or similar outcome. Children who are infected with mumps may also suffer from acquired deafness due to the disease in 1 in 20,000 cases.
Why Is the Mumps Mortality Rate So Low?
Part of the reason for the low mortality rate in mumps is the fact that the primary symptoms of the disease are relatively mild. Symptoms last from 2-10 days, with a low-grade fever lasting an average of 3-4 days. Swelling usually begins to decrease in 2-3 days, but many with mumps cannot feel the swelling through the jawbone.
The other reason for the low mumps mortality rate is because of a generalized effort to vaccinate against this disease. The vaccination combinations have been found to be up to 98% effective when administered properly. Since the pre-vaccine era, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than a 99% decrease in mumps cases have been reported in the United States.
Most years, the number of infections is between 200-2,000 people, though some regional outbreaks are known to occur.
Can Mumps Occur Even After a Vaccination?
Mumps can still be obtained even if an individual has received a vaccination against the virus. People who have not been vaccinated against the disease are 10 times more likely to be infected when an outbreak would occur. The infections after a vaccination are generally milder than compared to symptoms that occur in unvaccinated individuals.
For this reason, all school-age children are recommended to have two doses of a mumps vaccination in K-12 settings. This is usually administered through the MMR vaccine. This will help to continue keeping the mumps mortality rate low.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.