UT University Health Services

Information about Mumps

What is Mumps?

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by the mumps virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Items used by an infected person, such as cups or phones, can also be contaminated with the virus, which may spread to others if those items are shared. In addition, the virus may spread when someone with mumps touches items or surfaces without washing their hands and someone else then touches the same surface and rubs their mouth or nose.

Am I at Risk?

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, Mumps vaccine is the best way to prevent mumps. This vaccine is included in the combination measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. Two doses of mumps vaccine are 88% effective at preventing the disease; one dose is 78% effective. There are some strains of the virus that are not covered by the vaccine.

You are at risk if you were not vaccinated, have not had mumps, or have received notification that you may have been exposed to a person with a confirmed mumps infection. Please follow the action steps below.

Actions to Take

If you have symptoms of mumps (see below), seek medical care. Students should call UHS at 512-471-4955 or the UHS UHS Nurse Advice Line 512-475-NURS (6877) BEFORE COMING TO UHS. Let the nurse know that you have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed mumps infection. We will arrange to take care of you while reducing the risk of exposing other patients.

If you don't feel sick and have never been vaccinated for mumps, Students should call the Allergy, Immunization, and Travel Clinic (512) 475-8301 to schedule an appointment for a MMR vaccine. According to the CDC, vaccination after exposure is not harmful and may avert later disease.

If you don't feel sick and have been vaccinated for the mumps, no action is needed at this time. However, if you do start to experience symptoms, follow the steps outlined above under "If you have symptoms."

For Faculty and Staff: If you have symptoms of mumps or have questions about your vaccine status, you should call your primary care provider. The UT Select medical insurance plan for staff and faculty provides 100% coverage with zero co-pay or deductible for recommended vaccines, including the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). Many local pharmacies are in-network and offer vaccine services on a walk-in basis. For information about UT Select preventative health services, visit the UT Select Living Well site.

Mumps Symptoms

Up to half of people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and therefore do not know they were infected. The most common symptoms include:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • 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.

Mumps is best known for the swelling of the cheeks and jaw, which is a result of swelling of the salivary glands. People who show symptoms usually recover after a week or two, but mumps can occasionally cause serious complications.

The most common complication is swelling of the testicles in males who have reached puberty. Other rare complications include:

  • Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis)
  • Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts in females who have reached puberty
  • Deafness

Preventing the Spread of Mumps

If you have mumps, there are several things you can do to avoid spreading the virus to others:
  • Minimize close contact with other people, especially babies and people with weakened immune systems who cannot be vaccinated.
  • Stay home from school and other activities for 5 days after your glands begin to swell, and try not to have close contact with other people who live with you.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean your hands thoroughly and often with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don't share drinks or eating utensils.
  • Regularly clean surfaces that are frequently touched (such as doorknobs, tables, counters) with soap and water or cleaning wipes.

Resources for More Info

Don't let mumps spoil your fun
U.S. Centers for Disease Control cdc.gov/mumps
UHS UHS Nurse Advice Line 512-475-NURS (6877)
Staff and Faculty that are UT Select participants may call the 24-hour Blue Cross Blue Shield Nurse Advice Line at 888-315-9473

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