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.

Incubation period

The incubation period is about 18 days (range 14 to 25 days).

Infectious period

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'.

Infection control

Minimise transmission of mumps in the surgery/healthcare facility (PDF 363KB):


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).