Diagnostic Test Directory

Virology Laboratory

Mumps IgM serology - serum specimen

  • LIS Mnemonic: MUMPIGM


    Gold (SST - Clot activator & gel)

    Volume Required

    1 ml Serum

    Minimum Required

    0.5 ml Serum


    Keep specimen at 4C


    Allow serum to clot completely at room temperature. Separate serum from cells ASAP.

    Unacceptable conditions

    Severely lipemic, icteric, hemolyzed, heat-inactivated, or contaminated samples.

Days Performed

Mon, Wed, Fri


1-3 days

Reflex Testing





Enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA)

Disease Information

Clinical Features:

Following an incubation period of 14-18 days, mumps begins with a nonspecific prodrome of low-grade fever, headache, respiratory symptoms, malaise, and myalgia. Most common feature is swelling of salivary glands in 30-40%, particularly the parotid glands. Swelling is usually bilateral; unilateral in 25% of cases. Severe illness with complications more likely in adults. The virus is transmitted from person to person through respiratory secretions and is quite contagious. Greatest communicability is 1-2 days before to 5 days after onset of parotid gland swelling. Illness lasts a week to 10 days. Complications include orchitis in 20-30% of infected postpubescent males, oophoritis and mastitis in 5% of postpubertal females; sterility and impaired fertility are uncommon. Mumps can also be complicated by meningitis and encephalitis.


Clinical diagnosis of mumps is unreliable; requires laboratory confirmation. Although once a common disease in children, fewer physicians now recognize the clinical features of mumps. Also, many viruses, including parainfluenza virus, enteroviruses, EBV, CMV, HIV, and influenza virus, can cause acute parotitis. Outbreaks of mumps still occur in the United States despite high coverage rates with vaccine. The disease is normally imported from abroad or associated with importation from other countries and outbreaks arise in people who have not been immunized and as a result of two-dose vaccine failure. Therefore, both unvaccinated and vaccinated persons are at risk for acquiring mumps themselves and transmitting the virus to others. Living in closed communities in crowded conditions is a contributing factor in the spread of the virus.


If positive, results are reported as mumps virus IgM antibody detected.

Reference Values

Negative or no mumps virus IgM antibody detected

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