About Mumps Virus (Mumps)

Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the parotid glands (salivary glands) and is typically recognized by swelling near the jaw.

How is it transmitted?

Mumps can spread when sick individuals cough or sneeze. People may also contract mumps by touching their mouth or nose after touching something contaminated with the virus (e.g. doorknobs, tables, cups, an infected person’s hand, etc.).

Signs and symptoms

Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, orchitis (inflamed testicles) and parotitis (swollen and tender salivary glands). Symptoms may not appear for 12-25 days.


Currently, there is no treatment for mumps other than supportive care through relief of symptoms (e.g. pain management). People with suspected mumps should stay at home and do not go to classes, work, school, or social events for at least 5 days or until their diagnosis is confirmed (i.e. self-isolate). This is an important prevention strategy to avoid the spread of mumps.


Vaccination is the most effective way to protect oneself against mumps. Although mumps is part of the required immunizations for Penn students, one may still be exposed to the disease through contact with unvaccinated individuals. The easiest thing for students to do is to get the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, if they have not already received it.

Student Health Service follows CDC guidelines and does not recommend drawing titers for confirmation of immunity if the individual has received two documented doses of MMR.

If you think you have mumps or have been in close contact (e.g. someone you’ve shared food, drinks, or e-cigarettes with, sexual partners, roommates, etc.) with someone who has confirmed mumps , please contact Student Health Service 215-746-3535 and select the option to speak with a nurse.

Practice good hygiene:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow
  • Self-isolate if you suspect you have mumps (stay home and do not go to classes, work, school, or social events)





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(updated 3/28/2019)