mumps picture

Auckland is currently experiencing a widespread outbreak of mumps, predominately affecting young Pasifika people (60 % of cases have been young adolescents in the Pasifika community). There have been 300 recorded cases in Auckland since January this year, which is more than all the cases recorded over the past 16 years. It’s not only Auckland that’s been affected; Dunedin is also experiencing its first outbreak in years.

Signs and symptoms

Mumps is a viral disease that usually involves pain, tenderness and swelling in one or both parotid salivary glands (cheek and jaw area). Swelling is first visible in front of the lower part of the ear, it then extends downward and forward as fluid builds up in the skin and soft tissue of the face and neck.

Swelling usually peaks after 1 to 3 days and then subsides during the second week. The swollen tissue pushes the angle of the ear up and out. As swelling worsens, the angle of the jawbone below the ear is no longer visible.

Prior to parotitis (inflammation of the parotid gland), prodromal symptoms may be seen such as low-grade fever (which may last 3 or 4 day), myalgia, anorexia, malaise and headache. Parotitis may last at least 2 days but may persist longer than 10 days.

Complications of mumps can occur and these include: orchitis (pain and swelling of the testis) in males, which in rare cases can cause sterility; Women can experience mastitis and oophoritis (ovarian inflammation). Other rare complications of mumps include pancreatitis, permanent hearing loss, meningitis, and encephalitis. Women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy have a risk of miscarriage when exposed to mumps.

Excerpt taken from monthly education update for members of Infection Control NZ. For more information please contact

Have a great September

Amanda x

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