The family of a teenage girl who died suddenly on holiday have recalled the moment her eyes rolled back and she stopped breathing.

Molly Bower, 17, complained of a swollen face soon after arriving on holiday in Majorca, Spain with her aunt and uncle and died less than 24 hours after seeing a hotel doctor.

Molly, from County Durham, North East England, is feared to have caught the virus despite being immunised as a child, The Sun reported.

She arrived in the Majorca resort of Alcudia on Monday, October 7 and said she thought the painful swelling on the side of her face could be an abscess.

But family friends looked up symptoms online and suspected the mumps.

Molly followed advice to take ibuprofen but began to vomit and became delirious over the next few days.

On the Friday, an in-house doctor at her hotel, Club Mac Alcudia, diagnosed mumps and prescribed more painkillers, but hours later Molly was unconscious.

“During the Thursday evening she was delirious,” aunt Dominique Bower told the Daily Mail. “She could not eat and kept on asking what we were saying. She would say that she could not hear us and complained that she was aching all over her body.

“The resort doctor touched her neck and immediately he said ‘mumps’. He suggested paracetamol and ibuprofen every six hours.

“Within a few seconds of taking it, Molly drifted off to sleep. We later tried to wake her for a shower, we couldn’t get her to walk, it was like carrying a dead weight.

“I left the room for five minutes afterwards to get her more clothes and the next thing I knew I heard screaming (from a family friend).

“Molly’s eyes had rolled into the back of her head and she had stopped breathing.”

Doctors tried to save her for two hours. A post-mortem is expected to confirm the virus.

Close to 500 people have pledged cash to a GoFundMe page, raising almost £10,000 ($18,900) to get her body home and pay for a funeral.

Molly’s mother Danielle Bower said she was a “fit and healthy young woman”.

“Molly had such a dry sense of humour and was a really strong girl,” she said.

“She was an honest and loyal person with good manners. She loved to go out and socialise. She was really bubbly and just so beautiful.”

Molly’s stunned friends also paid tribute to her online.

Melissa Clarke said on Facebook: “RIP Molly Patterson you absolute beautiful soul!

“Knew you since been a little nipper and you’ve always had a heart of gold girl …

“So sad knowing you’re gone but you will never be forgotten! You don’t realise how loved you actually are, everyone is well and truly devastated.

“Have not stopped thinking about this all night god bless you, sleep tight angel forever in our hearts thinking of all family and friends at such a sad time.”

Emma French wrote: “This is such heartbreaking news.

“Molly was a lovely girl with a huge heart and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to know her and see her grow into the young lady she was.

“Let’s get her home and give her the send off she deserves.”

Tamzin Burnham added: “You were a fabulous friend and I will cherish our memories. I’m heartbroken.”

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed its staff were supporting Molly’s family.

Mumps is a highly contagious viral infection that normally passes in two weeks with rest.

It causes characteristic swelling of the jaw, plus general flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever and joint pain.

In rare cases it can trigger meningitis and swelling of other organs. Molly’s family said she was immunised as a child.


Mumps is a contagious viral infection that is spread by coughs and sneezes like the flu.

Usually it causes acute parotitis — swelling of the saliva glands under each ear — leading to the classic “hamster face” look.

Other symptoms include headache, fever, joint pain and loss of appetite.

Symptoms develop around 17 days after infection and last around a week.

There is no treatment besides rest and painkillers.

Rarely, mumps causes orchitis (swelling of the testes or ovaries), meningitis or pneumonia.

Complications can include deafness, fertility problems, and occasionally death from encephalitis — swelling of the brain.

It was once a common childhood disease, and there were epidemics among army recruits.

Since the 1960s there has been a steep drop in cases thanks to immunisation.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission