Important information about Mumps
Are you fully immunised against Mumps?
Are you registered with a Doctor yet?
You may be aware that over the last few years there has been an
increase in the number of people aged 18-28 in the UK who have
contracted the mumps infection.
The reason why this age group has a high risk of mumps is that
most are too old to have been vaccinated. Students under 28 are
most at risk. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was only
introduced in 1988. A booster dose was introduced in 1996
What is Mumps?
Mumps is an infection caused by a virus and symptoms
- Swelling and tenderness of glands in one or both sides of the
neck (called parotitis)
- Running nose and eyes, sore throat and ears – particularly in
- Generally feeling unwell
Most people with mumps go on to make a full recovery however
occasionally more serious complications of mumps infection can
occur. These include:
- A mild form of meningitis (inflammation of the layers
surrounding the brain)
- Ear infections which can lead to hearing impairment
- Swelling and tenderness of the testicles in adolescents and
adult men (orchitis), and inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis)
in women, though it is very rare for these to cause serious
complications such as infertility
- Inflammation of the pancreas - Pancreatitis
How do you get mumps?
You catch mumps by being in close contact with someone who
already has the infection. The virus is passed in the secretions of
the infected person’s nose and throat and is spread by their
sneezing, coughing and kissing. Also, it is possible to catch mumps
from direct contact with articles which have been contaminated by
the saliva of an infected person eg. hankies.
How do you prevent contracting mumps?
- By avoiding close personal contact with a person with mumps if
you are at risk.
- By immunisation - there is a safe and effective vaccine, which
protects against mumps. It is one of the “M” components in MMR
vaccine and a child needs two doses of this vaccine, usually at 13
- 15 months and another dose pre-school.
- Protection can be life long.
- If a child or young adult has not received 2 doses of MMR
vaccine, this can be given at any age.
- As mumps vaccine is a “live” vaccine, vaccination is not
recommended in children who have a weakened immune system e.g.
because of immune-suppressing medication or chemotherapy. These
children are particularly vulnerable and should avoid contact
What should I do?
To reduce the risk of developing mumps, it is advised by the
Health Protection Agency (www.hpa.org.uk - opens in a new
window) that if you are not immune you should receive the MMR
vaccination at your earliest opportunity by speaking to your NHS
Doctor (General Practitioner).
If you have not yet registered with a GP please do so. A list of
doctors is available from the
Students' Union - list of GP's - opens in a new
If I have symptoms, should I stay away from classes/work?
Is it advisable not to attend University or work until 10 days
after the onset of swelling. Please consult your GP who will be
able to offer advice on treatment and care.
Mumps is infectious for 2 – 7 days before the facial swelling
first occurs and for approximately 9 - 10 days after the appearance
of the symptoms. General advice is to stay away from the University
for at least 5 days after symptoms first develop. You should
confirm this with your GP.
The incubation period (time between infection and the onset of
symptoms) is between 14 – 21 days.
Why not visit the NHS
Direct Choices website (opens in a new window) for some
excellent resources and help guidance.
For more information on immunisation and the mumps infection
visit the following site: