Mumps for health professionals
Mumps is an illness caused by infection with a paramyxovirus. Mumps is a febrile illness with swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, usually the parotid and sometimes the sublingual or submaxillary glands. Headache and respiratory symptoms can occur. Up to 10% of cases develop aseptic meningitis. Epididymo-orchitis occurs in 20 to 30% of post-pubertal males but subsequent sterility is rare. Nerve deafness and encephalitis are rare complications.
The incubation period is about 18 days (range 14 to 25 days).
The infectious period is up to 6 days before glandular swelling and up to 5 days after the onset of swelling.
Mumps is transmitted by contact droplet spread or indirectly from contaminated objects.
Arrange laboratory testing of saliva collected on an oral or buccal swab in viral transport medium, or urine (yellow top container) for 'mumps PCR' through SA Pathology; or blood (clotted serum tube) for 'mumps-specific IgM and IgG'.
- ensure all staff are fully vaccinated.
- use Contact and Droplet precautions in addition to Standard precaution.
- healthcare workers and patient should wear a surgical mask.
- pay attention to hand hygiene
- ensure routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces after patient departure
- non-immune staff should avoid caring for the patient.
There is no specific treatment for mumps infection.
Mumps is best prevented by receipt of two doses of mumps containing vaccine. See:
Mumps infection is a notifiable condition under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011. Notify any suspected or confirmed cases to the South Australian Communicable Disease Control Branch on 1300 232 272 (24 hours/7 days).