Te mate pupuhi repe Mumps

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads very easily between people. It can cause swelling in the glands around the face. For some people it can be serious and cause symptoms that last a long time.

Locations of interest in Aoteroa New Zealand

There are currently no locations of interest.

If you think you or someone in your whānau has mumps, call your healthcare provider or Healthline for advice as soon as possible.

Call Healthline: 0800 611 116

Symptoms of mumps

Some people with mumps can be very sick with symptoms. Others can have mumps and not have any symptoms.

It usually takes 12 to 25 days before you have symptoms.

The symptoms of mumps are:

  • swelling of the glands around the face
  • pain in the jaw
  • fever
  • headache.

Complications from mumps

In most cases, mumps does not cause serious damage to your health. However, sometimes it can cause serious complications, such as:

  • hearing loss — this usually gets better but can be permanent for some
  • swollen testicles or scrotum (orchitis) — this affects 1 in 5 adult males with mumps, and in rare cases causes inability to have children
  • swollen ovaries which causes a more severe tummy pain and swollen breasts in girls and women
  • inflammation of your brain (encephalitis)
  • inflammation of the lining of your brain and spinal cord called meningitis — this can happen in 1 to 10 people.

How mumps spreads

Mumps spreads through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing.

It can also spread through saliva, for example by kissing or sharing food and drinks.

You can easily give mumps to someone else from 2 days before swelling appears until 5 days after swelling starts.

People who have the infection but do not have symptoms can also spread mumps.

Diagnosing mumps

Before you see your healthcare provider

If you think you or someone in your whānau has mumps, call your healthcare provider or Healthline for advice as soon as possible.

Call your healthcare provider before you visit them. Mumps is easily passed on from 1 person to another. Your healthcare provider will need to protect others against the risk.

How to get a diagnosis

A healthcare provider will usually diagnose mumps based on your symptoms. They will look for swollen glands and fever.

They might swab the lining of the inside of your mouth to test it. Sometimes, a blood test may be needed to help with the diagnosis.

If your symptoms are severe, or there are complications, a healthcare provider might ask for a blood or urine test, or a lumbar puncture or spinal tap (cerebrospinal fluid test) if you are in hospital.

Your healthcare provider may ask you about any recent travel overseas. The risk of mumps is higher in some countries that do not have the mumps vaccine as part of their immunisation schedule.

Staying home

If you have mumps, you must isolate (stay at home and do not go to work or school) for at least 5 days after the swelling started, to avoid giving it to others.

If you have mumps, or have been identified as a contact of someone with mumps, public health services will contact you to let you know what you need to do. They will support you with advice on how to keep yourself and your whānau safe during your illness. 

If you are still unwell after 5 days, you should stay at home until you are better.

If you do not hear from public health services:

  • call your healthcare provider
  • call Healthline on 0800 611 116

Treatment for mumps

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Most people get better on their own within 2 weeks.

You can help your symptoms at home with:

  • bed rest
  • plenty of fluids, especially water
  • paracetamol to reduce pain and fever
  • cold compresses held against the swollen glands
  • avoiding acidic drinks like fruit juice — they can cause discomfort in your salivary glands
  • eating soft foods that do not need much chewing.

Preventing mumps

The best protection against mumps is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Being immunised protects yourself and your whānau — and stops the disease spreading in your community.

Find out about the vaccine, who needs it and when to get it.

Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine (internal link)