Mumps is a highly infectious disease that can spread easily between people.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine can help protect you against the virus. This vaccine is free and is given to children at 12 months and 15 months of age. If you aren’t sure if you or your child have had the MMR vaccine contact your doctor to check.

Mumps symptoms can include swelling in the glands around the face, as well as cold and flu like symptoms.

If you think you may have mumps seek medical advice by calling your doctor. You can also call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116.

If you have mumps the glands on one or both sides of your face may become swollen and sore, typically around the jaw or cheeks.

Other symptoms can include:

  • a fever
  • headache
  • aching muscles
  • being tired
  • not wanting to eat

If you or your child has mumps symptoms you should seek medical advice by contacting your doctor. Call ahead before visiting a medical practice so you don’t risk passing on the virus to others.

You can also call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116.

Someone with mumps can pass on the virus to others from two days before they get any swelling, up until five days afterwards.

The virus can be passed on through breathing, coughing and sneezing near others, or through contact with infected saliva (e.g. through kissing, or sharing food and drink).

If you’ve caught mumps you usually become unwell around 12 – 25 days after being in contact with someone who has the virus.

If you or your child has mumps you are required to stay away home and stay away from others for five days, starting from when any swelling appeared.

During this time you should not leave the house. This means you can't go to day care, school, work or anywhere you could pass mumps on to others.  You also should not have visitors in your home, and you should try and minimise contact with other people you live with.

People you’ve seen recently may be at risk of catching mumps too, so may need to stay home in quarantine. They will be contacted by a health professional with further advice, if necessary.

Mumps is caused by a virus so antibiotics do not work against it and won’t help treat it. There is no cure for mumps.

For most people mumps does not cause any serious damage to their health, and they can recover safely at home.

People with mumps require plenty of rest and lots of cool drinks, especially water. Paracetamol can be taken to help reduce fevers and ease any pain.

In rare cases mumps may lead to more serious complications, including:

  • hearing loss – in most cases this is temporary and will pass, but, in some cases, it can be permanent
  • swollen testicles or scrotum (orchitis) – this affects 1 in 5 adult males with mumps and in rare cases cause infertility
  • swollen ovaries (which causes a more severe tummy pain) and swollen breasts in girls and women
  • inflammation of your brain (called encephalitis)
  • inflammation of the lining of your brain and spinal cord (called meningitis)

Mumps is a notifiable disease. This means that health professionals or laboratories will inform us when someone has it. This allows us to monitor the number of people who have the disease and give them and health professionals advice on how to reduce the spread of mumps.

Our team will also speak to the person who has mumps about the people they have been in close contact with. This is so we can provide those individuals with advice to help protect themselves and reduce the risk of any further spread.

  • Mumps (Ministry of Health)
  • Mumps (Health Navigator)
  • Mumps (The Immunisation Advisory Centre)

Calculating how long to stay in quarantine

If you have been asked to stay home in quarantine, this is to prevent you from spreading the mumps virus to others if you are developing the disease. People are infectious before they become unwell.

Please stay home away from others. Do not go to work, school, preschool, group or social activities, sports, fitness centres or public places like movie theatres, shopping malls, supermarkets, other food markets, bars and cafes. Do not use public transport or visit friends or family. Avoid being in the same room as people who are not immune to mumps.

To work out your quarantine period, use this quarantine calculator.

Mumps quarantine calculator

Because you were in first contact , and your last contact was ,

You should remain in quarantine from -

You can return to normal activities the
next day if you are still well.

start the calculator again download-small


There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 22.11.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
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