Campus Health Advisory

Public Health Update: Mumps  

Mumps is a viral illness that is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing, and direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. It may take up to 26 days for a person to get sick after they have been infected. The best way to protect against mumps is to get the MMR vaccine.

There is no treatment, however symptoms usually resolve in a few weeks. In rare cases, mumps can cause complications.

If you believe you have been exposed to the mumps, or are experiencing symptoms, call the health center at 479-575-4451.


Current Status: No known transmission occuring on campus at this time.

Risk Assessment: Considered low; prevention practices strongly encouraged.

Last Confirmed Case: December 2019.

Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2020 - This page is viewable at all times, however tranmission may not be occuring.   


Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. There is no treatment for mumps, and it can cause long-term health problems.

Mumps is best known for the puffy cheeks and tender, swollen jaw that it causes. This is a result of swollen salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, often referred to as parotitis.

Other symptoms that might begin a few days before parotitis include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite

It may take up to 26 days for a person to get sick after they have been infected. Mumps can spread before swollen glands appear and for 5 days afterward. Therefore, you should remain home until 5 days after the swollen glands first appeared.

Some people who get mumps have very mild symptoms (like a cold), or no symptoms at all and may not know they have the virus.

In rare cases, mumps can cause more severe complications.

Most people with mumps recover completely within two weeks.

In most children, mumps is pretty mild. But it can cause serious, lasting problems, including:

  • Meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord)

  • Deafness (temporary or permanent)

  • Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)

  • Orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males who have reached puberty

  • Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females who have reached puberty

In rare cases, mumps is deadly. Adults are more likely than children to become very sick with mumps. 

Mumps spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth, nose, or throat. An infected person can spread the virus by

  • coughing, sneezing, or talking
  • sharing items that may have saliva on them, such as drinks, food utensils or vaping devices
  • participating in close-contact activities with others, such as playing sports, dancing, or kissing
  • touching objects or surfaces with unwashed hands that are then touched by others

An infected person can likely spread mumps from a few days before their salivary glands begin to swell to up to five days after the swelling begins.

A person with mumps should limit their contact with others during this time. For example, stay home from school, work, and do not attend social events.

The best way to protect against mumps is to get the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine also protects against measles and rubella. It is also called the MMR shot. Unvaccinated people are nine times more likely to get mumps than people with two doses of MMR vaccine.

Students admitted to the University of Arkansas are required by Arkansas State Law to provide documentation of two MMR immunizations. The only exception to this law is a waiver due to medical, religious or philosophical reasons, which is approved by the Arkansas Department of Health annually.

These are the recommended doses of the MMR vaccine:

  • Children younger than six years of age need one dose of MMR vaccine at age 12 through 15 months and a second dose of MMR vaccine at age 4 through 6 years. If your child attends a preschool where there is a mumps case or if you live in a household with many people, your child should receive their second dose of MMR vaccine right away, even if they are not yet 4 years old. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

  • Children age 7 through 18 years need two doses of MMR vaccine, if they have not received it already. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

  • If you are an adult born in 1957 or later and you have not had the MMR vaccine already, you need at least one dose. If you live in a household with many people or if you travel internationally, you need a second dose of MMR vaccine. The second dose should be given a minimum of 28 days after the first dose.

  • Adults born before 1957 are considered to be immune to mumps and do not need to get the MMR vaccine.

To get the MMR vaccine, schedule and appointment with the Allergy, Immunization & Travel Clinic by calling 479-575-7723 or schedule online at

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. Those vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine have about an 88 percent reduction in contracting the virus.

Other ways to help prevent the spread of the mumps virus is to:

  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as phones, doorknobs, tables, counters, etc.

Do not go to work or to public places. If you get these symptoms, call your doctor’s office before going to the clinic. Tell them you may have mumps. The doctor may not want you to sit in the clinic waiting area. Instead your doctor may ask you to come into the clinic another way, or ask you to wear a mask when you arrive. These steps will keep from spreading mumps to the other people.

If you believe you have been exposed to the mumps, or are experiencing symptoms, call Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451. 


Mumps Outbreak of Fall 2019 

During the Fall 2019 semester, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) confirmed an on-going mumps outbreak on the University of Arkansas campus. In total, 38 cases were identified, some appearing as early as September. 

In an effort to stop the transmission of mumps and protect at-risk community members, ADH issued a series of public health directives for the campus community and other campus-affiliated persons.

On Feb. 10, 2020, ADH determined transmission was no longer occurring on campus, and officially declared the mumps outbreak over. (A mumps outbreak is considered over after two incubation periods have passed without a new case.)

Read ADH Mumps End-of-Outbreak notifications for students and employees.

Expired ADH Public Health Directives

On Dec. 20, 2019, the Arkansas Department of Health issued a public health directive requiring all U of A students not immunized with at least two (2) doses of the MMR vaccine, to either be vaccinated immediately or be excluded from class/class activities until transmission is no longer occurring on campus.

Students impacted by this directive have received an email with additional information from Pat Walker Health Center.

   ADH Student Public Health Directive

Students with questions about the public health directive can contact Pat Walker Health Center at 479-575-4451 or email  

On Dec. 13, 2019, The Arkansas Department of Health has issued a public health directive requiring all U of A employees on the Fayetteville campus to be up-to-date with their Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine by Monday, Jan. 13, 2020

Faculty and staff can submit their vaccine records online to the Arkansas Department of Health. 

The deadline to submit documentation is Friday, January 10, 2020.

 Submit MMR Vaccine Records                     ADH Public Health Directive

The Arkansas Department of Health urges employees unsure of if they were vaccinated, or unable to locate immunization records to begin the vaccination process as soon as possible.

Employees that recently recieved their first dose of the MMR vaccine are considered in compliance with the ADH directive, however must recieve their second dose to avoid out-of-compliance status at a later date.

The MMR vaccine is available at pharmacies, doctors’ offices, as well as all ADH local health units.

You can also receive the MMR vaccine at Pat Walker Health Center’s Allergy & Immunization Clinic. To schedule your appointment, go to or call 479-575-4451.

The health department can also verify vaccination records if they are available in the Arkansas immunization registry:

Faculty and staff with questions about the public health directive should contact the Arkansas Department of Health Outbreak Response Section at 501-537-8969.