University Health Service

Students studying at a wooden table

What is the status of mumps on campus?  Four students at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus were diagnosed with mumps in October 2018.

Why is mumps a concern? Mumps generally causes mild symptoms in people who are immunized. Symptoms usually go away on their own, however mumps is fairly easily transmitted and some people experience complications.   

How is the university responding? University Health Service is working with multiple campus partners, Michigan Medicine, and state and county public health authorities to identify, treat and prevent mumps.

What is known about the cases? 

  • Three cases were identified in early October, 2018. All are undergraduate students at U-M Ann Arbor and live in different residence halls. Their symptoms began between 9/17/18 and 10/2/18. 
  • One additional case was identified on 10/15/18. The student lives off-campus.
  • All students had received two appropriate doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • There are no known connections between these cases. 

Who was informed about these cases:

  • Students who live in the same residence halls, classmates, and other exposed contacts to the students with mumps were notified. 
  • All students and their listed parents/family were informed via email about the three initial cases on October 9, 2018.

How long should we be watchful?  Secondary cases are possible through early November, 2018.

Why did these students get mumps if they are vaccinated? MMR vaccine prevents most, but not all, cases of mumps and complications caused by the disease. Two doses of the vaccine are 88% effective (range: 66 to 95%) at protecting against mumps. One dose is 78% effective (range: 49% to 92%).

Should I get a titer (blood test) to check my immunity? Most individuals who have had doses of MMR will have a positive MMR titer immunity test, which measures antibodies to measles, mumps and rubella. If you are unsure about your MMR status (e.g., if you are not sure whether you have one or tw doses of MMR), please check your immunization records. If you are unsure, getting another dose of the MMR vaccine will help build your immunity.

If I’ve already been exposed to mumps, will getting the vaccine prevent illness? Vaccination after exposure is not harmful and may possibly prevent later disease. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF, page 255)

Should I get a third MMR vaccine? 

  • If you have had close contact with someone with confirmed mumps, or if there is any reason to believe you could be at higher risk of infection, you should consider getting a third dose of the MMR vaccine. Please contact your health care provider to discuss this. Students and other UHS patients may contact UHS at 734-764-8320.
  • Otherwise, it’s recommended that all persons over the age of 12 months get up-to-date with MMR vaccine.  In particular, all adults should have two doses of vaccine. See Vaccine Information Statement for MMR for details about this vaccine.

What are symptoms of mumps? Mumps virus is best known for causing puffy cheeks and swollen jaw.

Symptoms may include: swollen and tender salivary glands under the ears on one or both sides, fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, testicular swelling and pelvic pain. 

Rarely, mumps can cause more severe complications such as deafness, swelling of the brain and/or spinal cord covering, painful swelling of the testicles or ovaries, and death (very rarely).

When do symptoms appear? Symptoms may begin 12-25 days after exposure.

When can the virus be transmitted? A person with mumps may be able to transmit it to others starting several days before symptoms of puffy cheek(s) and swollen jaw appear, until 5 days after the symptoms begin.

How is mumps transmitted? Mumps virus is transmitted via droplets in the air. The virus can be spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing and releasing tiny droplets of contaminated saliva, which can then be breathed in by another person. The virus can also be transmitted by direct contact with saliva.

How can mumps be prevented?

  • Check your immunization record. If you have not received two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine or previously had mumps, you should call a health care provider to evaluate your needs. You may want to call or visit your home doctor over fall break or Thanksgiving break, or use University Health Service (UHS) - see Immunizations.

  • Practice preventive measures, such as good hand hygiene (Wolverines Wash!), cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid direct contact with saliva e.g. kissing and sharing personal items like toothbrushes and bottles/cups.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick to prevent infecting others. See Tips for Academic Success if You are Sick or Injured 

  • If you have had close contact with someone with confirmed mumps, or if there is any reason to believe you could be at higher risk of infection, consider getting a third dose of the MMR vaccine.

Where can students get health care on campus? University Health Service (UHS) provides health care for students and other UHS patients. See How to Get Health Care. Most currently enrolled U-M students on the Ann Arbor campus are covered by the health service fee. For example, nurse advice by phone is free for students and other UHS patients.

What can you do if you have questions or concerns?

Students, other UHS patients, and others in the campus community may:

  • Call UHS at 734-764-8320. UHS offers advice by phone day or night, to help save students (and other UHS patients) a trip to UHS or the emergency department
  • Use the patient portal to contact your care team, if you have previously visited UHS as a patient and have a portal account
  • Email UHS at

Media inquiries can be directed to U-M Public Affairs at 734-936-5190 or

For more information:

Updated 10-15-2018