Information about mumps

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: E. Drew Malloy, MD, Medical Director

We want to help you understand and protect yourself against mumps. Recently, we have had one confirmed cases of mumps, one probable case of mumps on Campus and three suspected cases of mumps.

Mumps can be serious, but most people recover completely within two weeks without complications. The disease typically starts with a few days of fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. Within the first two days of these initial symptoms, most people will develop swelling of their salivary glands (the glands that make saliva), causing puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw. Rarely, mumps can cause other, more serious complications.        

Two Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccines provides lifelong immunity against mumps for 88% of people. This means that the vaccine is not effective for every person. A small number of people who had two MMR vaccines and are exposed to mumps may still develop the disease. Once a person is exposed to mumps, there is no medicine to prevent or clear the disease because it is a virus. For most people, mumps illness is brief and causes no major consequences. To learn more about mumps visit:

Mumps is spread via respiratory droplets and requires close physical contact between people. Close physical contact means activities like kissing, sharing drinks, sexual partners and close physical contact during sports.   Mumps is not spread through casual contact, like sitting next to someone in class. Individuals infected with mumps can spread the virus to other individuals two days prior to salivary gland swelling and up to five days after the swelling begins. Typically, it takes 16 to 18 days after an exposure before a person could develop symptoms. However, symptoms may show in as little as 12 days or not until 25 days after the exposure.

Please watch for signs or symptoms of mumps, especially swelling of the salivary glands (most commonly seen with the parotid glands). If you develop swelling and tenderness of the parotid glands, please contact the Student Health Center or your private health provider and bring this letter with you.* (See attached information for your provider.)

The MMR vaccine is the most powerful tool we have for preventing measles, mumps, and rubella. The MMR vaccine is 100% covered by your insurance plan. If you are not sure if you have had your vaccinations, here are some ways to find your immunization records:

At this time, there is no recommendation for a third MMR vaccination. Other ways to prevent the spread of mumps and other infections include frequent handwashing, covering your coughs and sneezes, staying home when you are sick, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. For more information:

In working to manage the risk of mumps in our community, we follow the guidance of the California Public Health Department and Santa Cruz County Public Health Division’s Communicable Disease Unit (CD Unit). The CD Unit is working with close contacts of students with suspected, probable or confirmed mumps. At this time, there is no evidence that members of the general community should isolate themselves or receive a third MMR vaccination to prevent mumps. If these recommendations change, we will inform you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or concerns.

Nurse Advice Line: 831-459-2591

Santa Cruz County Public Health Division Communicable Disease Unit: 831-454-4114.

For patients with salivary gland swelling, health providers should collect a buccal swab and contact the Santa Cruz County Communicable Disease Unit promptly. Specimens should be submitted for testing in coordination with the Communicable Disease Unit. For more lab information, providers can visit:

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