Primary healthcare news, information & resources

Mumps - a growing concern

A message from Pinnacle MHN medical director Dr Jo Scott-Jones

The measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is given at 15 months and four years to all children in New Zealand. Networks across the country, including Pinnacle MHN, have been seeing an unfortunate rise in the proportion of patients declining immunisations. It will come as no surprise to hear that there is a strong correlation between patients who are presenting with mumps and this group of children who have not been immunised.

The current number of probable or confirmed mumps cases in the Waikato DHB region since 1 January 2017 is 43, with about three more being notified and confirmed each week. Two-thirds of patients in the current outbreak are aged from 10-29 years. 

GPs are encouraged to be suspicious about mumps. It presents with fever, headache, malaise, muscle aches, poor appetite, swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands (just below the ear lobe).

About 15 per cent of people who get mumps develop meningitis which may present as headache, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness, fever and/or vomiting.

On average, fever usually lasts one to six days, but salivary gland swelling can last for more than 10 days. It usually takes 6-18 days from exposure to the first symptom, ranging from 12-25 days. Mumps is most contagious from two days before to five days after the development of parotid inflammation.

People with suspected mumps must be excluded from early childhood education, school, and work until the condition is excluded, or nine days after the appearance of swollen salivary glands to protect others from infection.

Contacts of mumps cases who are not immune to mumps e.g. those who are unvaccinated, are excluded from early childhood education, school and work until 26 days after the appearance of swollen glands in the last case they were in contact with.

If you suspect mumps please notify your local public health department and take a buccal swab in viral medium for PCR. Early notification will allow more rapid processing of the lab test and appropriate rapid advice to patients, their families and the community.  

Public Health departments

Hugh Monckton Trust Building, Level 5, 73 Rostrevor Street, Hamilton
07 838 2569

Te Toi Ora, 510 Cameron Road, Tauranga
0800 221 555

Community Health Services, 110 Peel Street, Gisborne
06 869 0500

Health Protection Officers
06 753 7798

Latest Articles