Mumps is an infection caused by a virus affecting the saliva glands in the lower cheek area. Symptoms include a fever, headache and swelling over the cheek or jaw area on one or both sides of the face. It is usually a mild illness that lasts about one week but can, on rare occasions, have serious complications.

Mumps is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing and symptoms appear two to three weeks after coming into contact with someone with mumps.

The best protection against mumps is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine which is free for all children. MMR vaccinations are scheduled at 12 months and 15 months.

MMR vaccination is also free for anyone who has not received two doses.

What early learning services, schools and kura can do

Prevent mumps spreading by:

Update immunisation registers

Early Childhood Centres and Primary Schools must maintain their immunisation registers under the Health (Immunisation) Regulations 1995.  This allows unimmunised children who have been in contact with someone with mumps to be identified quickly to help reduce the risk of further spread. For more information view the Immunisation Guidelines for Early Childhood Services and Primary Schools.

Provide advice in your newsletter

Ask parents and caregivers to check that their child's/children's immunisations are up-to-date. Immunisation is free. Immunisation given on time is the best way to prevent mumps. The first dose of MMR vaccine is usually given at 12 months of age and the second dose at 15 months of age. 

Parents and staff should also make sure that they are immune to mumps. Anyone who has had mumps that was confirmed by a doctor is likely to be immune, and most people born before 1981 will be immune because mumps used to be quite common. Everyone else should check that they are up to date with their vaccinations.  It is never too late to catch up.

Non immune contacts of mumps cases may be required to stay away from school.

Secondary schools can use the Don't Assume You're Immune campaign resources to encourage 16-17 year olds to check they are fully immunised. The website has specific resources secondary schools can use including images to place in school newsletters, a website tool kit, posters and fact sheets.

What to do if mumps occurs in early childhood education services (ECE) and schools
Once a notification of mumps is received by the local public health service, the early childhood service or school the child attends will be contacted by public health staff who will provide information and advice to the manager or principal.

Unimmunised children/students and staff, or those with no immunity to mumps, who have been close contacts of a mumps case during the infectious stages may be excluded from school or ECE service to prevent the spread of this disease.