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Mumps Virus Biological Agent Reference Sheet (BARS)

Updated December 4th, 2023
Disclaimer: Risk group, biosafety level, and all other precautions noted here are subject to change after a risk assessment by EHS.


Agent Type Risk Group Biosafety Level Animal Housing Biosafety Level
Virus  RG-2 BSL-2 with special practices ABSL-2

Agent Characteristics 

Risk Group: RG-2 associated with human disease, rarely serious; preventive or therapeutic interventions often available.

Agent Type: Virus 

Description: Mumps Virus (MuV) is a paramyxovirus that may result in a contagious disease known as Mumps, a well-known childhood disease. The virus is a spherical, enveloped virus with a linear, single-stranded negativesense RNA genome. Most individuals recover from mumps in a few weeks; some individuals may experience mild or no symptoms and may never know they had the disease

Host Range: Humans; non-human primates

Host Shedding: Blood, Direct Contact, Saliva, Urine, Airborne spread by breathing, coughing, sneezing                            

Route of Exposure to Humans: Aerosol/Inhalation, Direct Contact, Mucous Membranes, Contaminated Items, Percutaneous, Broken Skin

Infectious Dose: Unknown                           Incubation Period: 15-24 days; median of 19 days

Health Hazards

Signs and symptoms of infection may include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (i.e. fever, headache, dehydration, weight loss, lethargy)
  • Respiratory symptoms (i.e. coughing, sneezing)
  • Neurological symptoms (i.e. loss of sensation, ataxia)
  • Aseptic meningitis, deafness, orchitis and swollen salivary glands (parotitis)

Immunizations: Available                               Prophylaxis*: Available

*Formal medical advice is obtained during medical consultations with Cornell Health or primary healthcare provider as needed.

Agent Viability 

Survival Outside Host Disinfection Inactivation


1:10 Bleach Dilution

70% Ethanol

Povidone iodine; accelerated hydrogen peroxide

2% Paraformaldehyde; 60 minutes UV light

For more guidance on disinfection see:  disinfectant selection.

Laboratory Hazards 

  • High energy-creating activities (centrifugation, sonication, high pressure systems, vortexing, tube cap popping)
  • Handling of sharps (needles, scalpels, microtome blades, broken glass, etc.)
  • Splash/droplet-creating activities (shaking incubators, liquid culturing, mechanical pipetting)
  • Equipment contamination
  • Exposed skin/uncovered wounds

Laboratory Acquired Infection (LAI) History:  8 known cases prior to 1976 – information regarding exposure route or cause not available.

Laboratory Handling Guidelines 

Laboratory Biosafety Level (BSL): BSL-2 with special practices

Attenuated Stain Alternatives: Mumps Virus Enders strain and Jeryl Lynn strain


Lab Engineering Controls Personal Protective Equipment
  • Eye Protection
  • Single gloves
  • Additional gloves (recommended)
  • Snap-front lab coat with cinch cuffs
  • Additional mucous membrane protection
  • Other: respirator may be required based on EHS review of specific experimental activities

Waste Management: Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)

Shipping Guidance: Refer to EHS Biological Materials Shipping 

Animal Vivarium Guidance

Animal Housing Biosafety Level (ABSL): ABSL-2

Animal Biosecurity: Experimental animals are housed separately       

Perform Inoculations: In a Biosafety Cabinet

Change Cages: In a Biosafety Cabinet

Exposure and Spill Procedures 

Mucous Membranes: Flush eyes, mouth, or nose for 15 minutes at an eyewash station. See: responding to exposures.

Other Exposures: Wash with soap and water for 15 minutes (open wounds, sores, etc.) or a minimum of 20 seconds for areas with intact skin. See: responding to exposures.

Small Spills: Notify others working in the lab. Evacuate area and allow 30 minutes for aerosols to settle. Don appropriate PPE. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply disinfectant, working from the perimeter toward the center. Allow 30 minutes of contact time before disposal and cleanup of spill materials. See: spill cleanup

Large Spills: Request assistance from the EHS Spill Team by calling CUPD dispatch. Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone.

Incident Reporting: Immediately report the incident to supervisor and complete the EHS online injury/illness report as soon as possible.

Medical Follow-Up:

  • For students, seek medical attention at Cornell Health or local primary care provider. Call Cornell Health at 607-255-5155 (24-hour phone consultation line) or a local urgent care. 
  • For faculty and staff, seek medical evaluation with a local primary care provider or urgent care. Cornell Health does not see employees for post-exposure care. 
  • Emergencies: Call 911 from a campus phone or 607-255-1111 from a mobile phone. 
Cornell EHS would like to thank Emory University for the use of their Biological Agent Reference Sheet (BARS) format and some content. 

More Information


  1. Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories. (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, 1999). Retrieved from CDC.
  2. Gouma, S., Hahné, S.J.M., Gijselaar, D.B., Koopmans, M.P.G. & van Binnendijk, R.S. Severity of Mumps Disease is Related to MMR Vaccination Status and Viral Shedding. Vaccine 34, 1868–73 (2016).
  3. Cui, A., Brown, D. W. G., Xu, W. & Jin, L. Genetic Variation in the HN and SH Genes of Mumps Viruses: A Comparison of Strains from Mumps Cases with and without Neurological Symptoms. PLoS One 8, (2013).
  4. Marin M, Marlow M, Moore KL, Patel M. Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus–Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:33–38. DOI
  5. McCarthy, M., Jubelt, B., Fay, D. B. & Johnson, R. T. Comparative Studies of Five Strains of Mumps Virus In Vitro and in Neonatal Hamsters: Evaluation of Growth, Cytopathogenicity, and Neurovirulence. J. Med. Virol. 5, 1–15 (1980). 
  6. Mumps. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. Pike, R.M. Laboratory-Associated Infections: Summary and Analysis of 3921 Cases. Health Lab. Sci. 13, 105–14 (1976)