Mumps information for schools and universities

News article

09 February 2017

In the last five months there has been an increase in cases of mumps in New Zealand, with 25 cases reported between 1 September 2016 and 9 February 2017. This number is 2 - 3 times higher than for the same period in the three previous years. 

Most of the cases have been from the Auckland region (15 cases). Other affected District Health Boards are in Lakes (3 cases), Capital and Coast (2 cases), Canterbury (2 cases) and Hutt Valley, Northland and West Coast with 1 case each. It appears nearly half of these cases have been acquired overseas.

The age range of affected persons is 2 to 34 years, with approximately half the cases occurring in school-aged children and half in young adults.

Though spread has been limited at this stage, there is an increased risk of further outbreaks, particularly given the start of the year for schools and universities. We recommend you read the information below regarding the risks mumps may pose for children and adults. 

Symptoms to watch out for

Symptoms of mumps include sore and swollen areas under the jaw/around the face, usually accompanied or preceded by fever, muscle soreness, poor appetite, fatigue and headache. 

Prevention of mumps 

The best prevention against mumps is immunisation with 2 doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine (MMR). Vaccination is free.

A person at school or university while they are infectious with mumps (7 days before until 5 days after the swelling of the salivary gland(s)) is very likely to spread the disease to other children and adults who are not immune. Taking action before a mumps outbreak can minimise the impact or spread of the illness. 

School and university staff, educators, students and parents can help prevent mumps spreading in the community by make sure that their immunisations and their children’s immunisations are up to date.  If they are unsure, encourage them to check with their family doctor. Anybody not fully vaccinated with MMR for their age must get vaccinated, i.e. all school-age and older students must have had 2 doses of MMR.

People with mumps, and susceptible people who have been exposed to mumps, should not attend school and mix with other susceptible people while they are infectious. Susceptible people include those born after 1981 who have not had a mumps infection or have not been fully vaccinated for their age.

Mumps in a disease notifiable to the local Medical Health Officer. Following a case of mumps, the local Medical Health Officer will make the decision around the exclusion from school and university of susceptible children or adults exposed to the case. 

If someone develops symptoms of mumps while at your school or university, separate them from others while they are waiting to be taken home and call Healthline  on 0800 611 116 as soon as possible for advice.

Please note that measles outbreaks tend also to occur in school and university populations, and MMR vaccine also prevents against measles.

For further information, please see:

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