Mumps

Public Health manages many communicable diseases to prevent their spread and protect the health of the public. They have been notified of a confirmed case of mumps at University of Kings College. We are following up directly with close contacts of the individual. Dalhousie Student Health and Wellness Centre has been made aware. 

Mumps info 

Mumps is caused by a virus. It is spread through direct and indirect contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes on or near another person, through kissing, or when an infected person shares food or drink with others. Although some people may have mild or no symptoms, mumps can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and rarely serious complications. 

Symptoms of mumps typically appear two to three weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include swelling and pain in the gland(s) at the angle of the jaw, fever, headache, and aching muscles and joints. More severe symptoms, such as severe headache, stiff neck, painful or swollen testicles, or severe abdominal pain, may also occur and should be assessed by a physician right away. 

What to do 

People who experience symptoms should call their healthcare provider or campus health services, and put on a mask when they visit the facility. Mumps can be diagnosed with an exam and lab tests. 811 can also be called, which provides non-emergency medical advice, regarding symptoms. Individuals with mumps must stay home from any group setting for five days after they first have symptoms (e.g. school, college or university, workplace, childcare facilities, and social events). 

Prevention 

Mumps can be prevented through vaccination. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent mumps, and is available at no cost through primary care providers. It is important to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date, including two doses of MMR. Primary care providers or Public Health office can help determine vaccination status. 

The following steps can be taken to prevent mumps: 

  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others, or objects that may have saliva on them
  • Wash hands often with soap and water 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or forearm

Questions/concerns 

Please refer to the information below. For any other questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider, 811, or Public Health at 902-481-5824.

Mumps FAQs

What is mumps?

Mumps is a disease caused by a virus. Symptoms may include: 

  • fever, headache, muscle aches 
  • swollen and tender salivary gland(s) in the jaw and cheek area

Although some people may have mild or no symptoms, mumps can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and rarely serious complications. 

How is mumps spread?

Mumps is spread by contact with droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat (e.g. through coughing, sneezing, or talking in close proximity, kissing, or sharing items with saliva on them). The virus can also spread when a person touches a contaminated surface or object and then touches the mouth or nose. 

The mumps virus can be spread for a week before symptoms appear and for up to 5 days after. 

Adults and children with mumps must stay home from any group setting for five days after they first have symptoms. This includes school, college or university, workplaces, childcare facilities, and social events. 

Is it serious?

Mumps can be serious. Most people recover but mumps can lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord), swelling of testicles, swelling of the ovaries, inflammation of the pancreas, and short-term or permanent hearing loss. These complications are rare, but they do happen. Mumps infection during the first trimester of pregnancy has been associated with miscarriage. 

What is the treatment?

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Supportive care should be provided. 

How can you prevent mumps?

Getting vaccinated is your best protection against mumps. All individuals born after 1970 should receive two doses of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent mumps, and is available at no cost through your primary care provider. Please ensure that you are up-to-date with your vaccinations. 

You should also take the following steps to protect yourself and others: 

  • Avoid sharing food and drinks with others, or any object that may have saliva on them 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water 
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or forearm 
  • Seek care if you have symptoms (and wear a mask when you visit the facility), and if mumps is suspected, stay home from any group setting for five days after start of symptoms (e.g. school, college or university, workplace, childcare facilities, social events)