Mumps 

Mumps is an acute viral illness. 

Summary

  • Mumps causes swelling in the glands around the face.
  • It can lead to meningitis in about 1 in 10 people.

Mumps is spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing, or through contact with infected saliva (ie, kissing, sharing food and drink).

If you’ve caught mumps, it usually takes 12–25 days before you get sick. You’ll be infectious from 1 week before the swelling appears until 5 days after.

Immunization

The best protection against mumps is the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine protects about 85 percent of people from mumps. A small number of people who have been vaccinated will still catch mumps, but they are less likely to be seriously ill.

Find out if you need the MMR vaccination

If you're not sure whether you've had two doses of MMR vaccine, you can check you're Well Child Tamariki Ora (or Plunket) book, or contact your general practice. If you cannot find your records, the Ministry of Health recommends you get vaccinated anyway - it's free for those born from 1 January 1969, and there are no safety concerns about having extra doses of the vaccine.

Stop mumps spreading

If your child has mumps, they should be kept home from school or early childhood services for 5 days after swelling develops. This will help prevent the spread of mumps in your community. If your child is still unwell after these 5 days they should remain at home until they are well.

Symptom

If you or your child has mumps, the symptoms are:

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

Prevention

Immunization

The best protection against mumps is the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two doses of MMR vaccine protects about 85 percent of people from mumps.  A small number of people who have been vaccinated will still catch mumps, but they are less likely to be seriously ill.

People aged 12 to 29 years are at greatest risk of catching mumps, as they're the group least likely to have been fully immunized as children.  Those born in Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, as well as many mainland nations in Asia, may not have been offered mumps immunization as children.

Get up to date with your immunizations

It’s never too late to get up to date with your immunizations. By being immunized, you will not only be protecting yourself and your family – you’ll also stop the disease spreading in your community.

  • Tips for making immunization easier
  • Tips following immunization

Who shouldn’t have the vaccine?

You shouldn’t get immunized against mumps if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have a severe allergy or immunosuppressive condition.

If you think you have been exposed to mumps and are unable to have the vaccine, ask your doctor for advice.

Making a decision about immunization

Risks associated with mumps
  • In about 1 in 10 people it causes meningitis, but it is usually relatively mild.
  • It causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in about 1 in 6000 people, of whom 1 in 100 will die, and nerve deafness in 1 in 15,000 people.
  • If infected after puberty, 1 in 5 males gets testicle inflammation and 1 in 20 females gets ovary inflammation. In rare cases, this leads to infertility.
Risks associated with the vaccine
  • Aseptic mumps meningitis occurs in 1 in 800,000 vaccine recipients. This is less severe than the illness caused by the mumps virus.
© RMI Ministry of Health and Human services

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