In recent months there has been a significant increase in the number of Israelis diagnosed with mumps. Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control announced that it plans to consider adding a third vaccine, in addition to vaccinations given to children a year old, to protect against the virus, which apparently has arisen. The Health Ministry is considering this step.

According to updated data from the Department of Epidemiology in the Ministry of Health, it emerges that from 2017 until last September, 320 people contracted the disease, while last year only 40 were infected. This is a jump of more than 800 percent in the rate of infection. The real numbers are probably much higher and are not reported.

Most cases of infection have been recorded in the Jerusalem District, which has also known viral outbreaks in the past. In the current epidemic it is not yet clear how many of the people with the disease were not vaccinated against the mumps. The vaccination against the illness is given in two doses in Israel: one at the age of one year and another at age 6.

What then caused a significant increase in the number of cases this year? It is estimated that in recent years there have been new subtypes of the return virus, which have overcome the vaccine and caused a return of the illness.

An article published by Prof. Itamar Grotto, Deputy Director-General of the Health Ministry, and Dr. Emilia Anis, head of the Epidemiology Unit at the Health Ministry, cited the rise in the number of cases in the past. The authors note that an increase in cases is also recorded in Europe, despite the high rate of immunization, which appears to indicate that the vaccine is no longer effective against the recombinant virus, and it may be necessary to have a new vaccine or an additional booster dose of antibodies to give maximum protection against the same virus.

Yeshiva students who dorm are at particularly high risk due to crowded conditions that usually exist in such a setting. Outbreaks to populations at risk include youth living in student dormitories or in apartments with many partners, or students living in overcrowded or at high risk of illness due to other patients around them.

The CDC recommended these people get a vaccine. The Israeli Ministry of Health is currently considering a third vaccination among young people, to raise the level of antibodies to the disease, a level that has not been raised since the last vaccination at the age of one year that the children received in Tipat Chalav well-baby clinics.

The Health Ministry recommends that adults have two doses on board which are received via the MMR vaccine.

CDC Signs and Symptoms of Mumps

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:



Muscle aches


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