Mumps Serology

Mumps Serology

Synonym/acronym: N/A.

Common use

To assist in diagnosing a present or past mumps infection.


Serum (1 mL) collected in a gold-, red-, or red/gray-top tube. Place separated serum into a standard transport tube within 2 hr of collection.

Normal findings

(Method: Indirect immunofluorescence)
Negative0.89 index or lessNo significant level of detectable antibodyLess than 5 IU/mLNo significant level of detectable antibody; indicative of nonimmunity
Indeterminate0.9–1.0 indexEquivocal results; retest in 10–14 d6–9 IU/mLEquivocal results; retest in 10–14 d
Positive1.1 index or greaterAntibody detected; indicative of recent immunization, current or recent infection10 IU/mL or greaterAntibody detected; indicative of immunization, current or past infection


Mumps serology is done to determine the presence of mumps antibody, indicating exposure to or active presence of mumps. Mumps, also known as parotitis, is an infectious viral disease of the parotid glands caused by a myxovirus that is transmitted by direct contact with or droplets spread from the saliva of an infected person. The incubation period averages 3 wk. Virus can be shed in saliva for 2 wk after infection and in urine for 2 wk after the onset of symptoms. Complications of infection include aseptic meningitis; encephalitis; and inflammation of the testes, ovaries, and pancreas. The presence of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies indicates acute infection. The presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies indicates current or past infection.

This procedure is contraindicated for



  • Determine resistance to or protection against the mumps virus by a positive reaction or susceptibility to mumps by a negative reaction
  • Document immunity
  • Evaluate mumps-like diseases and differentiate between these and actual mumps

Potential diagnosis

Past or current mumps infection.

Critical findings


Interfering factors


Nursing Implications and Procedure


  • Positively identify the patient using at least two unique identifiers before providing care, treatment, or services.
  • Patient Teaching: Inform the patient this test can assist in diagnosing a mumps infection.
  • Obtain a history of the patient’s complaints, including a list of known allergens, especially allergies or sensitivities to latex. Obtain a history of exposure.
  • Obtain a history of the patient’s immune system, symptoms, and results of previously performed laboratory tests and diagnostic and surgical procedures.
  • Obtain a list of the patient’s current medications, including herbs, nutritional supplements, and nutraceuticals (see Effects of Natural Products on Laboratory Values online at DavisPlus).
  • Review the procedure with the patient. Inform the patient that several tests may be necessary to confirm diagnosis. Any individual positive result should be repeated in 7 to 14 days to monitor a change in detectable levels of antibodies. Inform the patient that specimen collection takes approximately 5 to 10 min. Address concerns about pain and explain that there may be some discomfort during the venipuncture.
  • Sensitivity to social and cultural issues, as well as concern for modesty, is important in providing psychological support before, during, and after the procedure.
  • Note that there are no food, fluid, or medication restrictions unless by medical direction.


  • Potential complications: N/A
  • Avoid the use of equipment containing latex if the patient has a history of allergic reaction to latex.
  • Instruct the patient to cooperate fully and to follow directions. Direct the patient to breathe normally and to avoid unnecessary movement.
  • Observe standard precautions, and follow the general guidelines in Patient Preparation and Specimen Collection. Positively identify the patient, and label the appropriate specimen container with the corresponding patient demographics, initials of the person collecting the specimen, date, and time of collection. Perform a venipuncture.
  • Remove the needle and apply direct pressure with dry gauze to stop bleeding. Observe/assess venipuncture site for bleeding or hematoma formation and secure gauze with adhesive bandage.
  • Promptly transport the specimen to the laboratory for processing and analysis.


  • Inform the patient that a report of the results will be made available to the requesting health-care provider (HCP), who will discuss the results with the patient.
  • Instruct the patient in isolation precautions during the time of communicability or contagion.
  • Emphasize that the patient must return to have a convalescent blood sample taken in 7 to 14 days.
  • Inform the patient that the presence of mumps antibodies ensures lifelong immunity.
  • Reinforce information given by the patient’s HCP regarding further testing, treatment, or referral to another HCP. Provide information regarding vaccine-preventable diseases where indicated (e.g., mumps). Provide contact information, if desired, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Answer any questions or address any concerns voiced by the patient or family.
  • Depending on the results of this procedure, additional testing may be performed to evaluate or monitor progression of the disease process and determine the need for a change in therapy. Evaluate test results in relation to the patient’s symptoms and other tests performed.

Related Monographs

  • Refer to the Immune System table at the end of the book for related tests by body system.
Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, © 2013 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Mumps serology for IgM antibodies was sent on 5th day of illness and then repeated after 10 days but both of them were negative.
By the 11th day of onset of symptoms the mumps serology was reordered and seroconversion to IgG was demonstrated and specific treatment for ALL with modified St: Jude Total X111 protocol was initiated (4).