Mumps can be a serious and infectious viral disease, which can be prevented by the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

How do you get mumps?

Mumps is spread from an infected person through coughing, sneezing, or talking. It can be spread via face to face contact within a metre, or by touching an object contaminated with infected saliva and mucus, such as a used tissue or keyboard. 

The people who have the highest risk of developing severe mumps and complications are unvaccinated adolescents and adults. 


Early symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite. The salivary glands on one or both sides of the face, cheeks or jaw may become swollen and sore after two days. 

What should you do if you think you or your family member has mumps?

  • If you think you have mumps, stay at home and call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116. Healthline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has a translator service available.
  • If you are going to visit a medical centre or after hours’ clinic, please phone before you go  and tell them if you think you have mumps. 
  • Check out this fact sheet from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service. Your doctor will advise your infectious period and then you will need to tell family and friends who may have caught mumps from you during this period.
  • If you do have mumps, anyone who has been near you and is not vaccinated or immune to mumps may now be developing the disease. Please show them this information sheet.

Protecting yourself and others from mumps

  • People who have been exposed to mumps should get a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination as soon as possible, if they are unsure or cannot find evidence of being vaccinated with a MMR vaccine. 
  • Those people who have only had one MMR should get a second MMR as soon as possible, provided it is four weeks since the first MMR. 
  • Babies can be vaccinated with MMR in Auckland at six months of age, and then when they are 12 months and four years, to protect them in the current measles outbreak. 
  • The best way to protect against mumps is for everyone between the ages of 4 and 38 years to have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. Currently anyone aged under 30 years without one MMR, or those working in health and education are the priority for vaccination in Auckland. Please talk to your doctor if this is you.