February 23, 2017

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. Mumps infection is rare in Toronto, with an average of four cases reported per year in the last five years.

In Ontario, one dose of a combined measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is currently given on or after the first birthday followed by a second dose at four to six years of MMRV. A cohort of individuals born between 1970 and 1992 may not have received two doses of the MMR vaccine. Those born before 1970 likely had a natural infection.

Mumps is a reportable infection and although uncommon does still occur in Ontario.

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:

  • sudden onset of fever, cough, muscle aches
  • headache or earache
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • trouble talking, chewing or swallowing
  • unilateral or bilateral parotitis

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 PCR
  • buccal (preferred)/throat swab: mumps virus polymerase chain reaction (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.
  • If an individual is unsure of their vaccination history, a booster dose of MMR can be given.
  • Review the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) Statement on Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Varicella Vaccine (NACI). Note: Toronto Public Health recommends two doses of MMR vaccine for all individuals born after 1970 based on local disease transmission epidemiology.

When caring for people with mumps or suspected mumps cases, follow Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee’s Routine Practices and Additional Precautions in all Health Care Settings, including:

  • droplet and contact precautions
  • continued precautions for five days after onset of parotitis

In addition, advise suspect or confirmed mumps cases to isolate for five days after onset of parotitis.

Ensure that all healthcare workers are fully immunized or immune against mumps. For further information regarding mumps exposures in HCWs, see the Ontario Hospital Association/Ontario Medical Association Mumps Protocol

  • 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 suspect and confirmed cases of mumps to Toronto Public Health by calling 416-392-7411 during business hours and 3-1-1 on evenings and weekends.