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 do not need to stay in isolation, but you do need to stay away from places where others are at risk from mumps.

Please do not go to the following for five days, starting from when any swelling appeared: 

  • A healthcare facility, except for urgent medical attention. Ring call first to say you have mumps and wear a mask.
  • Workplace
  • School, early learning services or tertiary education
  • Sports or cultural activities
  • Anywhere you know there are unvaccinated or those at risk of serious disease because of low immunity for instance.

You are infectious from two days before any swelling until 5 days after.

Those who live with you or who have been near you during this time will also have to stay away from these places if they are not immune.

They will also have to stay away from work, healthcare (except for medical attention and vaccination), education and people at risk for 12 days after the first exposure until 25 days after the last day of exposure to you while you were infectious.

They are immune if 

  • have two MMR vaccinations with the last dose given at least 4 weeks before they were exposed to the virus
  • are aged 12 to 15 months and have had one dose of MMR vaccine, given at least 4 weeks before they were exposed to the virus
  • born before 1 January 1982
  • have had a record of having mumps previously.

 Please catch up on MMR vaccinations after you have recovered from mumps. The MMR vaccine will protect you from measles and rubella and you can get it for free from your doctor when you are feeling well. 


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.


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

read-more READ MORE

Last updated 19.12.2022

For health advice call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116
MENU menu-arrow
health topics