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Measles and Mumps Blood Test

Last updated Aug. 27, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Measles and Mumps Blood Test detects infection by measles or mumps viruses.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Measles and Mumps Serology Blood Test
  • Parotitis caused by Mumps Blood Test
  • Rubeola Blood Test

What is Measles and Mumps Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Measles (rubeola) and mumps (parotitis) are viral infections of the respiratory tract. They are spread through saliva, respiratory secretions, and aerosolized droplets of respiratory secretions.
  • An individual may be infected with measles for about 10 days before symptoms appear. This is called the incubation period. The recovery period may last several weeks. However, complications often occur, which can be life threatening
  • Complications of measles range from ear infections and diarrhea to blindness. Immunocompromised individuals and those with underdeveloped immune systems, such as children, are especially susceptible
  • The incubation period for mumps is between 2-3 weeks. The recovery period may last several weeks. During this time, the immune system controls the virus and the infection becomes self-limiting
  • However, complications from mumps may also occur. These complications include inflammation of the testicles (orchitis), ovaries (oophoritis), and meninges of the brain (meningitis)
  • Individuals who have received the measles, mumps, and rubeola (MMR) vaccine are less susceptible to be infected by these viral infections
  • The Measles and Mumps Blood Test detects infection by measles or mumps viruses. They often consist of culture tests early in the course of an infection and genetic tests later in the course of an infection.

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Measles and Mumps Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Measles and Mumps Blood Test:

  • Determining resistance to measles or mumps
  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body rash
  • Tenderness and pain in the testicles
  • Gray-white patches on the tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite

How is the Specimen Collected for Measles and Mumps Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Measles and Mumps Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Measles and Mumps Blood Test Result?

  • A positive result may indicate an infection with measles or mumps 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

In the US, the number of cases of mumps and measles has declined from nearly 1 million in 1941 to fewer than 150 in 1997. This is attributable to vaccination and improvements in hygiene. 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Dec. 8, 2014
Last updated: Aug. 27, 2018