An Auckland teenager came into contact with hundreds of people after her mumps was misdiagnosed three times.
Massey 18-year-old Cailyn Selfe went to an emergency department, Waitakere Hospital and another doctor over the Christmas period before a test finally confirmed her suspicions about having the contagious viral disease .
But between symptoms showing up last Friday and her diagnosis five days later, she worked at the NorthWest shopping centre and went to church after being told she had non-contagious lymphadenitis multiple times by different doctors.
"I thought I was non-contagious and I was going to work, where I work at a mall. I went to church on Christmas Eve night and I spent Christmas with family, who were here from overseas," she told Radio NZ.
Auckland is currently experiencing a mumps epidemic, with more than 1000 people in the region having contracted the virus.
A Waitemata District Health Board spokesman said staff had made what seemed like a reasonable diagnosis at the time.
"Given what we now know, the correct course would have been to diagnose mumps and recommend exclusion for five days," he said.
"We are sorry this did not happen at the time. When the patient re-presented on Christmas Day, she opted to go to primary care rather than wait to be seen, so was not re-assessed by our ED staff."
He said with the scale of the mumps outbreak in Auckland this year, swabbing was no longer a useful way to make a diagnosis.
Common symptoms of mumps include pain in the jaw, fever, headache and swelling of glands around the face.
In about 10 per cent of cases it can lead to meningitis and is spread through the air or saliva.
Those who have caught mumps usually take between 12 to 25 days to get sick but are infectious from a week before swelling appears to five days after, according to the Ministry of Health.