Up to 12 cases of the mumps in the Waikato have been linked to one night at one bar in Hamilton.

Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Richard Hoskins said of the 12 cases of the notifiable disease, three were University of Waikato students and almost all were exposed at the same location on Hood St in Hamilton on October 12.

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Hood St is home to several of Hamilton's pubs and clubs. The one where almost all of the cases traced back to is called Static, at 5 Hood St.

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"These are significant numbers," Hoskins said. "Eleven of the cases got sick within one week of one another, almost all were at the same location during the time they would have been exposed."

A DHB spokeswoman said 12 cases in one month was significant.

Unlike measles which spreads through the air, mumps is spread through the spread of fluid droplets such as saliva or through sneezing and coughing.

"If you get symptoms that might be measles or mumps - please don't spread it, no one wants these serious diseases in the run-up to Christmas," Hoskins said.

"If you get swollen tender cheeks, you need to be in isolation at home for five days after the symptoms start.

"You can get it up to three and a half weeks after being in contact with someone."

Mumps symptoms can include a headache and fever for a couple of days, followed by glands under and in front of the ear, on one or both sides, beginning to swell.

These parotid glands produce saliva for the mouth. The swelling may last for over a week.

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Some people with mumps do not get swelling of the parotid glands but instead can get inflammation of the testicles, or tenderness in parts of the abdomen for women can occur due to swelling of the ovaries.

Some people with mumps can also get encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, and meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.

Others may get no symptoms at all but can still spread the disease.

"It is important to see your doctor if you think that you have mumps, or call Healthline free on 0800 611 116 for health advice and information," Hoskins said.

People with mumps usually recover completely within 10-12 days from when symptoms start, and it is less contagious than measles.

Being immunised at 15 months and again at four years is the best protection against measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] he said, though with mumps there is about a one-in-five chance that young adults will have lost the immunity.

"There is no specific treatment for mumps. But pain relief can help with symptoms such as pain and fever."

There have been 34 confirmed cases of measles in Waikato DHB since August 1, and 50 since January 1, 2019, driving demand for the MMR vaccine.

What are the signs and symptoms of mumps?

• A person with mumps is most infectious from two days prior to salivary gland swelling until five days afterwards.

• You risk catching mumps from an infectious person if you are non-immune and have been within 1 metre of an infectious person.

• About 80 percent of the current mumps cases were in people not fully vaccinated.

• Early symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite.

• Men and adolescent boys can experience pain and swelling in their testicles, which in rare cases can result in infertility.

• Females can experience ovarian inflammation or an increased risk of miscarriage in the first three months if pregnant.

• In some people mumps can cause permanent hearing loss or inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissue.