Updated May 2024

Mumps virus is a member of the Paramyxoviridae family, transmitted primarily by droplet spread during coughing and sneezing as well as by direct contact with the saliva of an infected person. In 2023, there were five confirmed cases of mumps in Toronto. The pre-pandemic five year mean (2015-2019) in Toronto was 38 mumps cases per year; this is skewed by 139 cases in 2017 many of which were associated with a community outbreak.

Symptoms of mumps can occur between 12 and 25 days with an average of 16-18 days after exposure. Symptoms can last up to 10 days.

Symptoms include:

  • unilateral or bilateral parotitis lasting greater than two days, and without another apparent cause
  • fever
  • headache or earache
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • trouble talking, chewing or swallowing
  • loss of appetite

More serious complications from mumps infection include:

  • orchitis/oophoritis
  • hearing loss
  • aseptic meningitis
  • encephalitis
  • pancreatitis
  • miscarriage

Test for mumps in those with compatible signs and symptoms, regardless of their vaccination history. Order virus isolation and serologic testing to confirm mumps infection:

  • blood test: mumps Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies
  • urine: mumps virus polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • buccal (preferred)/throat swab: mumps virus PCR in viral culture media
  • Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine are recommended for all individuals born on or after 1970 in Toronto based on local epidemiology. A cohort of individuals born between 1970 and 1992 may not have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. In general, those born before 1970 are presumed to have natural immunity to mumps.
  • In Ontario, one dose of a combined measles, mumps, rubella MMR (MMR) is given at 12 months of age and a second dose of combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV) is given at four to six years of age.
  • If an individual is unsure of their vaccination history, a booster dose of MMR can be given.

In Health Care Settings:

For prevention of mumps transmission in healthcare settings, all employees (e.g., nurses, physicians, support staff) should ensure that they are immune to mumps. In the event of a mumps exposure, employees will be excluded from work from five to 21 days post mumps exposure unless they can provide proof of immunity regardless of their year of birth. Proof of mumps immunity includes:

  • documentation of receipt of two doses of mumps-containing vaccine on or after the first birthday, with doses given at least four weeks apart, or
  • laboratory evidence of immunity.

More information:

When caring for people with mumps or suspected mumps cases:

    • droplet and contact precautions until five days after onset of parotitis or symptom onset if parotitis is not present.
  • advise suspected or confirmed mumps cases to isolate at home for five days after onset of parotitis or symptom onset if parotitis is not present.
  • ensure that all healthcare providers (e.g., nurses, physicians, support staff) are immune to mumps (see Vaccination).
  • There is no specific treatment for mumps.
  • Symptomatic treatment such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be used for pain and fever relief.
  • Eating softer foods may help to alleviate symptoms.

Report suspected and confirmed cases of mumps to Toronto Public Health by calling 416-392-7411 during business hours and 311 on evenings and weekends.