Cause: Mumps virus, a paramyxovirus.

Illness and treatment: Mumps causes inflammation of glandular tissue, most commonly salivary glands (parotitis). Up to 20% of infections have no symptoms and up to half have mild or only respiratory symptoms. Complications include inflammation of testes (orchitis) or ovaries (oophoritis), aseptic meningitis (rarely causing deafness), pancreatitis, and myocarditis. Treatment is supportive.

Sources: Humans, including persons with asymptomatic infection, are the reservoir. Transmission is mainly through direct contact with infected droplet nuclei or saliva.

Additional risks: The average age of reported mumps cases has increased, with 40% of cases age 15 years and older. During 2006, a large outbreak of mumps occurred in 9 Midwestern states with the majority of cases seen in college-aged persons and adults in their 20s.

Prevention: Recommendations for universal childhood immunization have greatly reduced the number of infections. Two doses of mumps-containing vaccine are now recommended for school aged-children, college students, and health care workers born in or after 1957. Respiratory and hand hygiene can also reduce transmission.

Recent Washington trends: Between 1992 and 2005 the rate of reported mumps infections in Washington was 0.5 per 100,000 population or less (0-26 cases per year). Due to the increased awareness of mumps subsequent to the 2006 outbreak, 42 and 53 cases were reported in 2006 and 2007, respectively. A change in the national reporting criteria was made after 2007 and the rate of reported mumps has returned to pre-2006 levels.

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To assess the burden of mumps in Washington.
  • To identify cases and prevent further spread from cases by recommending appropriate preventive measures, including exclusion.
  • To educate potentially exposed individuals about signs and symptoms of disease, thereby facilitating early diagnosis and reducing the risk of further transmission.
  • To identify and vaccinate susceptible individuals.

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers and Health care facilities: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours
  • Laboratories: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 24 hours; submission required – isolate or if no isolate available, specimen associated with positive result for nucleic acid detection*, within 2 business days; submission on request – specimen associated with positive IgM, within 2 business days.
    *In practice, submission of these specimens generally occurs only upon request rather than routinely
  • Local health jurisdictions: notifiable to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Communicable Disease Epidemiology (CDE) within 7 days of case investigation completion or summary information required within 21 days