Health & Safety Department


Information on mumps - 5th December 2019

Information for staff and students

The mumps virus is circulating and affecting young adults in Edinburgh and the Lothians, predominantly in those aged 18 - 22 years.  Cases of mumps in our local community are monitored by the Health Protection Team NHS Lothian who provide the University with advice and support on potential public health issues.

Mumps is an acute viral illness. The infection can be easily spread from person to person by coughs and sneezes. It can also be transmitted by direct contact through saliva. 

Signs and Symptoms

The initial symptoms of mumps develop around 18 days after contact with an affected person (but can be between 14 - 21 days)

  • Fever
  • Aching Muscles
  • Loss of Appetite                                                                       
  • Headache
  • Swelling of salivary glands on one or both sides of the face (glands close to the jaw)

Complications (infrequent)

The infection usually passes within a week or two without causing any further problems but it can sometimes lead to complications.

  • Meningitis
  • Deafness
  • Swelling of testes or ovaries
  • Inflammation of the pancreas

How is mumps spread ?

Mumps is spread through coughing and sneezing, or direct contact with respiratory droplets (e.g. kissing or contact with tissues or hands with saliva on them).

A person with mumps is infectious from several days before the start of the swelling in their glands to five days after swelling starts.

A person with mumps symptoms should stay away from work, college or university for five days after the swelling first starts to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.  They should also limit their contact with other people during this time.

If you or someone close to you has mumps you should be careful with hand hygiene, thoroughly washing hands using a liquid soap.  Each member of the family should have their own towel.  Pay particular attention to hand washing after coughing and handling objects.


There is no specific treatment for mumps.  People will usually recover after 1-2 weeks.  Patients should drink lots of water to prevent against dehydration.  Paracetamol can help to bring down fever.

If you are concerned that you may have contracted mumps then you should NOT attend university and advice should be sought from your GP by telephone.

Medical/Nursing students must not attend placements in healthcare premises if they think they have mumps.


The best protection against mumps is to have two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations.

The MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses - measles, mumps and rubella (German measles).  In the UK children are routinely vaccinated with MMR in childhood, at 13 months of age and pre-school age.

If you think you are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR contact your GP.

Student health services or your GP will tell you how to get your vaccinations if you need them.

If you have not received two doses of MMR then the course can be finished at any time.

If you need to check your immunisation status or if you would like to receive the MMR vaccination, you should contact your own GP practice.


Information on Registering with a Doctor (General Practitioner) in Scotland

New To Lothian ? Know who you can turn to for healthcare

Further Information

Further general information about mumps and the MMR vaccine is available online at:


Posters about the mumps and the MMR vaccination can be downloaded here.  Please help to raise awareness by displaying these posters in your work/study area.