Mumps – Diagnostic – PCR

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Mumps virus diagnosis

Buccal swab

One swab in the transport media provided in the kit

Virus Respiratory Kit order#390082

Mumps virus diagnosis

Throat swab

One swab in the transport media provided in the kit

Virus Respiratory Kit order#390082

Mumps virus diagnosis


5 ml

Sterile container

Mumps virus diagnosis

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

1 ml

Sterile container

Submission and Collection Notes


Collect a buccal swab and urine for each patient suspected of having mumps. One General Test Requisition Form is sufficient for both specimens.


Buccal Swabs: massage the parotid gland area (the space between the cheek and teeth just below the ear) for about 30 seconds prior to the collection of the buccal secretions. The parotid duct (Stensen's duct) drains in this space near the upper rear molars. Put the swab into that space.


Refer to the Virus Respiratory Kit for collection of swab specimens.


CSF – testing may be performed in cases of aseptic meningitis.

Timing of Specimen Collection

Buccal swab – should be collected up to nine days from date of symptom onset.

Throat swab – should be taken up to nine days from symptom onset

Urine – should be collected up to 14 days following symptom onset

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO laboratory on ice packs.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Mumps PCR is performed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

TAT for RT-PCR result is up to 3 days.

Samples that are RT-PCR positive will be cultured. Virus Culture is observed for a minimum of 17 days; samples that are positive can be observed at any point during this period.
TAT for a virus culture result is up to 18 days after receipt.

TAT will vary during the winter months.

Positive samples are sent to NML in Winnipeg for genotyping.

STAT and Critical Sample Testing is not available.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Specimens that are positive for Mumps are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Test Methods

RT-PCR testing is performed on mumps specimens.

Positive PCR specimens are cultured using traditional virus culture.


Samples that are positive for mumps are sent to NML, Winnipeg for further testing (genotyping).

Additional Information

All patients being tested for mumps should also have acute and convalescent mumps serology performed. Please see mumps serology .

Ensure that the lab requisition indicates that you are requesting mumps testing. Mark the symptoms, dates of onset of parotitis, exposure/travel history, and vaccination history on the requisition.

Note: Please ensure that your local public health unit is aware of all individuals who are being tested for mumps. Please contact the PHO customer services centre at 416-235-6556 or 1-877-604-4567 prior to submitting samples for mumps PCR testing.

Mumps PCR testing is not routinely performed after hours. In special circumstance where after hours/weekend testing may be warranted please contact the after hour’s emergency duty officer at 416-605-3113.

Mis à jour le 20 juill. 2020