Mumps: epidemiology, surveillance and control

The characteristics, diagnosis and epidemiology of mumps. Includes immunisation information for health professionals and immunisation practitioners.

Mumps is a viral illness caused by a paramyxovirus. Transmission is by direct contact with saliva or droplets from the saliva of an infected person.

Early symptoms include a headache and fever characterised by swelling of the parotid glands which may be one or two sided. Other symptoms include pancreatitis, neuritis, arthritis, mastitis, nephritis, thyroiditis and pericarditis. Mumps is rarely fatal but complications include swelling of the ovaries (oophoritis), swelling of the testes (orchitis), aseptic meningitis and deafness.

Mumps is a notifiable disease in England and Wales.

Mumps is vaccine preventable. In the UK children receive 2 doses of the combined measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.

For more information about mumps, visit NHS.UK.


Data collection


To view older data, view the health protection archive.

Immunisation programme and resources

Immunisation is the most effective way to protect against mumps. Children should receive 2 doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations before the age of 5 years.

In April 2013, Public Health England (now the UK Health Security Agency, or UKHSA), NHS England and the Department of Health announced a national catch-up programme to increase MMR vaccination uptake in children and teenagers.

Vaccine uptake data for MMR is available through the Cover of vaccination evaluated rapidly (COVER) programme.

See Immunisation guidance for healthcare professionals for resources such as template letters and patient leaflets.

Health protection reports

Updates to this page

Published 1 April 2013
Last updated 22 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added health protection reports from 2015 to 2022.

  2. First published.