Mumps

A thermometer and some pills.

The following is based on information provided by the North Yorkshire Health Protection Unit.

What is mumps?

Mumps is an infection caused by a virus (germ) and can cause:

  • fever
  • headache
  • swelling and tenderness of glands in one or both sides of the neck (parotitis)
  • running nose and eyes, sore throat and ears - particularly in young children

Occasionally serious complications of mumps infection can occur including:

  • 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 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)

Who does it affect?

It can affect anyone who has not developed natural immunity or has not been vaccinated against mumps.

How do I 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. Also, it is possible to catch mumps from direct contact with articles which have been contaminated by the saliva of an infected person, eg handkerchiefs.

How do I prevent mumps?

  • By immunisation. There is a safe and effective vaccine, which protects against mumps. It is one of the 'M' components in the MMR vaccine and a child needs two doses of this vaccine, one at 13-15 months and another dose pre-school. If a child or young adult has not received two doses of MMR vaccine, this can be given at any age and protection can be life long.
  • By avoiding close personal contact with a person with mumps if you are unvaccinated.

In crisis now

Call 999 for emergency services - or for security services on campus call 01904 32 3333 or use the Safezone app.

Further information

Who to contact

  • Open 9am to 5pm, Mon - Thurs; 10am to 5pm, Fri (UG term-time)
    10am to 4pm, Mon - Fri (all other times)

If infected what should I do?

If you exhibit any of these symptoms then you should rest, take an appropriate medicine to help bring down any high temperature and contact your doctor (GP) urgently for further advice.

If you do contract mumps please take what precautions you can to avoid infecting others. If you are living in University accommodation alert your college and those living near you. if you are living in other accommodation alert those with whom you live.

Mumps is infectious for two to seven days before the symptoms first occur and for approximately nine to ten days after the appearance of the symptoms. The incubation period (interval between infection and the onset of symptoms) is 14 - 21 days.

Do I need treatment?

There is no specific treatment for mumps but an appropriate medicine to help bring down a high temperature should be used and if necessary, sponging down with tepid water.