Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person. Typical symptoms include swollen salivary glands, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and a fever. Mumps can also affect organs, including the brain, pancreas, testicles or ovaries. This usually only occurs in adolescents and adults, but once a person has had the disease, he is immune for life.
1914 – Newlyweds Clabe and Leora Wilson
The morning of the wedding of Leora Goff and Clabe Wilson, Leora felt a little swelling on her neck and jaw. Mumps was making the rounds of their Wichita, Iowa, neighborhood. Leora’s parents thought she’d had mumps as a baby. Clabe’s mother thought he had, too, but he came down with them a couple of weeks later. Three of Leora’s brothers also caught them. Mumps was the reason their neighbors cancelled a planned “chivaree” for the newlyweds–a noisy teasing on the wedding night or shortly afterwards.
1919 – Wayne Goff
Wayne Goff, still in France with the 88th Division, spent his 25th birthday (February 24, 1919) in a mumps ward at Houdelainecourt, where he reported the hospital had a full house.
1924 – Tessie Goff
The summer of 1920, Jennings Goff (who had also served with the 88th Division) married Tessie Sauvago. Baby Maxine was born the next year, and Merrill three years later. Baby Merrill was four days old when his young mother died of mumps. He also came down with them, and Maxine–not quite three–caught chicken pox. Merrill was nursed back to health by Tessie’s folks near Wichita, in Guthrie County, while Jennings and little Maxine stayed in his family’s Victorian home in Guthrie Center.
1943 – Delbert Wilson
In April, the USS Achelous sailed with a convoy bound for North Africa–without Delbert Wilson, son of Clabe and Leora. Mumps. His next half dozen letters home were sent from the Naval Hospital at Norfolk, Virginia.
“I’ve been in this damn place for six days. Seems more like six weeks. Yea, I’ve got the mumps–don’t feel so bad, though. My temperature is about normal so I get a regular meal–which means a lot in a place like this. I have about week to go here at least before they will even consider turning me loose. They keep you in bed all the time it is not absolutely necessary to get up. They bring everything to you–meals, bath, etc.”
The swelling under his under his jaw was going down, but it still looked like he had a double chin. Delbert was in the ward for acute cases, with several new ones arriving.
After Del got out of the hospital, his ship had sailed without him.
These days, children and adults don’t get mumps anymore. A mumps vaccine was developed in 1967. It was licensed in the United States in 1971 as a combined measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
When was the last time you heard of anyone suffering with mumps?