Diagnostic Test Directory

Virology Laboratory

Mumps virus IgG serology - serum specimen

  • LIS Mnemonic: SMUM


    Gold (SST - Clot activator & gel)

    Volume Required

    2 ml blood

    Minimum Required

    1 ml serum


    Room temperature


    If multiple viral serologies are being requested from the same specimen, the general rule is to collect a total of 2-4 ml of blood for every 2-3 tests ordered. A single serum specimen is required to determine the immune status of an individual or to test for viral-specific IgM antibodies. Paired sera specimens, collected two to three weeks apart, are required for the diagnosis of a current or recent viral infection when examining specimens for IgG antibody. Obtain the acute phase serum as soon as possible after the onset of illness. The most useful results are obtained by submitting acute and convalescent phase sera together to be tested simultaneously. Evaluation of serum for antibodies to TORCH (Toxoplasma, Rubella, CMV, HSV, etc) agents can be used to detect congenital and perinatal infections in newborns. Two serum specimens should be submitted for testing; one from the mother and the other from her infant. Serological testing is not usually available for body fluids other than serum. However, in patients with viral neurologic disease, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be tested for viral antibody if paired with a serum specimen from the same date.

Days Performed



Same day

Reflex Testing





Enzyme Immunoassay

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.


<0.9 - No mumps virus IgG antibody detected 0.9-1.10 - Equivocal for mumps virus IgG antibody >1.10 - Positive for mumps virus IgG antibody Detec

Reference Values

Negative or no mumps virus IgG antibody detected

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