Case notification

Any suspected mumps cases must be notified urgently to the Medical Officer of Health.

Our current rates of immunisation coverage are below the 95% required to prevent the spread of mumps, so urgent public health follow up of suspected or confirmed cases is important.

Key documents

Mumps overview

An acute illness with unilateral or bilateral tenderness and swelling of the parotid or other salivary gland/s, lasting more than 2 days, with or without fever and without other apparent cause. Other symptoms may uncommonly include orchitis, mastitis, oophoritis, meningitis, encephalitis, pancreatitis and hearing loss. Women in their first trimester of pregnancy are at higher risk of miscarriage.

Mumps likelihood increased if;

  • In the 12-25 days prior to onset
    • Overseas travel to an area where mumps is occurring – eg Fiji, Tonga
    • NZ travel to area with on-going Mumps cases (currently Auckland)
    • Contact with a confirmed case
    • One dose or no MMR vaccination.

Laboratory testing

  • A viral buccal swab for PCR ideally within 3 days, up to 7 days of parotitis onset is the recommended investigation. 
  • Please ensure a virocult swab is used with viral transport media.
  • The buccal area is the space near the upper rear molars between the cheek and gum. In unilateral parotitis collect the sample from the affected side. Results may take several days if testing occurs at another laboratory.
  • Mumps IgM serology is not routinely recommended for diagnostic purposes. It can be useful as an early indication for public health purposes and may be advised in discussion with public health.
  • Include history of MMR vaccination and date of onset of parotitis on the laboratory request form.

Public Health Advice

  • Notify Public Health on suspicion.
  • Exclude the person with suspected mumps from school, early childcare centre, university, work, sports or other groups while awaiting test results.
  • Advise the person to avoid close contact with non-immune individuals.
  • Advise good hand hygiene and cough etiquette for all suspected cases and their contacts to interrupt transmission.
  • Advise the person you are notifying Public Health and to expect a phone call.
  • People with mumps are most infectious from 2 days before to 5 days after the onset of parotitis.
  • Primary and secondary care providers should ensure all their staff (including reception and administration) are immune. 
  • Primary care should check and offer MMR immunisation for all patients who are susceptible. This is particularly important for Pacific people from countries that only offer MR (measles. rubella) not MMR e.g. Fiji, Tonga. MMR is offered in the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Samoa. Ensure pre-travel advice, especially to Fiji and Tonga includes checking mumps protection. If in doubt, vaccinate. MMR vaccine is free for anyone who needs it.


On-call Medical Officer of Health - 07 579 8000 (Tauranga Hospital)
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