Global & Disaster Medicine

New Zealand: An outbreak of mumps.


What is the current situation?

Public health officials in New Zealand have reported an outbreak of mumps.

Mumps is a contagious disease that is spread when infected people cough, sneeze, or talk. Sharing items, like cups or drink cans, with infected people can also spread the virus. The virus can also live for several hours on items and surfaces touched by an infected person. Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, loss of appetite, and swollen and tender salivary glands (under the ears or jaw) on one or both sides of the face. Some people who get mumps have very mild or no symptoms, and often they do not know they have the disease.

CDC recommends that travelers to New Zealand protect themselves by making sure they are vaccinated against mumps. The only mumps vaccines available in the United States are the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccines. Children should get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults also should be up to date on their MMR vaccinations (two doses at least 28 days apart).

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

  • Before you travel, make sure you have already been vaccinated. If you are not, get the MMR vaccine.
  • While traveling, wash your hands often. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) to clean hands.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.

Learn more about preventing mumps and what to do if you think you have it on the mumps page for travelers.

Traveler Information

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