As of March 22, 2018, there has been 944 confirmed cases of the mumps in Hawaii.  Mumps is highly contagious and creates a threat in the workplace to your employees and your customers.  Gestation of the disease, immunization status and exposure create a complex network of decision points for the employer and the employee.

Mumps is caused by a virus.  It typically starts with fever, headache, achy muscles and fatigue; followed by loss of appetite and swollen salivary glands.  Serious complications can develop; however, the normal course of the virus is 2 weeks and is best treated with plenty of fluids, bed rest and fever control.

Full testing to rule out mumps includes blood testing, urine and swab of inside of mouth. Full testing is reserved for those we clinically suspect of having mumps. Blood tests result take about three or four days and can show previous immunization or exposure, mouth swab and urine testing are done by the department of health and can take up to two weeks to result.  If an employee has been exposed and has symptoms, they should isolate for 9 days after the onset of swollen glands.

The CDC reports that the current outbreak is due to waning immunity from previous immunizations. Therefore, the best prevention is a booster shot for those who have been previously immunized.  However, booster shots will only protect one from FUTURE exposures and will not be effective in treating a recent exposure to the mumps.

Remember, if an employee contracts Mumps at the workplace, it can trigger a worker’s compensation claim.  Therefore, being proactive by implementing a Mumps Protocol at your organization is wise.

Bottom line for employers to protect your workforce and customers from the Mumps virus:

  1. Know your employees’ immunization status with an immunization documented MMR Series in a shot record or positive IgG antibodies.
  2. Advise employees to see their PCP for a booster shot if they have had the MMR vaccine or an initial vaccination series if they have not been vaccinated.
  3. If there is a mumps exposure at the workplace, call Urgent Care Hawaii to set in motion our Mumps Clinical Protocol.  Knowing the specifics of the situation at your organization will provide valuable information to our team.
    1. Call Urgent Care Hawaii’s Occ Med Specialists Jen Swanson or Cindy Suzuki (XXX-XXXX)
    2. Have the employee inform the front desk: “I may have been exposed to the mumps at work and I am required to show proof of previous immunization.”
    3. We will determine the employee’s status indicating:
  4. Patient has no active clinical symptoms of the mumps
  5. Patient has documented MMR Vaccination Series OR positive IgG showing previous immunization
  6. Patient has received a booster MMR

Employees and customers are our most precious resource.  Be proactive in addressing the mumps outbreak and protect your organization from the mumps.

Symptoms of mumps infection:

  • Swollen glands in front of the ears or jaw on one or both sides
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Some people may have very mild symptoms and others may feel sick with no swollen glands.
  • The symptoms usually start 16-18 days after infection with the virus, onset can range from 12 to 25 days.


Contact with saliva or mucus from the mouth nose or throat of an infected person.  An infected person can spread the virus by:

  • Coughing, sneezing or talking
  • Sharing items, cups eating utensils
  • Touching surfaces with out washing hands that are then touched by others


  • Get MMR booster or initial series of MMR vaccinations
  • Wash hands
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Those who are symptomatic should be tested self-isolate for 9 days after onset of swelling of the glands
  • Those who have been exposed to mumps and are not vaccinated should be tested and not attend school, work or travel from day 12 through 25 after exposure


  • There is no specific treatment for mumps
  • Ensure adequate fluids, bed rest and fever control.
  • Most people recover completely in 2 weeks.