In April 1999, a previously healthy 22-year-old woman was taken ill with fever and bilateral swelling of the parotid glands. A chronic course of disease extending from April to December was found with swelling of the parotid glands, fatigue, low grade fever, episodes of tachycardia and nightswetting. Mumps virus RNA of genotype A character based on the SH (small hydrophobic) protein gene classification was demonstrated in three serum samples collected during the course of clinical disease. Different criteria for reinfection were fulfilled including demonstration of IgG antibodies by ELISA in a preinfection serum sample. The preinfection serum sample of the patient was able to efficiently neutralize the infectivity of a heterologous genotype D strain but was unable to neutralize the homologous genotype A virus. The findings in the present study may offer an explanation of a mechanism behind previously observed vaccine failures and the occurrence of reinfection with heterologous mumps virus strains.