Persistence of mumps antibodies after 2 doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine

J Infect Dis. 2009 Feb 15;199(4):552-60. doi: 10.1086/596207.


Background: Since 1990, most US schoolchildren have received a second dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR2) at kindergarten entry. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the short- and long-term mumps immunogenicity of MMR2.

Methods: At enrollment in 1994-1995, children (n=308) in a rural Wisconsin health maintenance organization received MMR2 at age 4-6 years. A comparison group of older children (n=308) was vaccinated at age 9-11 years. Serum samples were collected over 12 years. Mumps antibody levels were evaluated by plaque-reduction neutralization (lowest detectable titer, 10).

Results: Before MMR2, the geometric mean titer (GMT) for the younger group was 33; no subject was seronegative, but 16% had the lowest detectable titer. In response to MMR2, the GMT tripled to 97, and the proportion with low titers diminished to 3%. Four-fold boosts occurred among 54%, but only 3% were positive for immunoglobulin M. Twelve years after MMR2, the GMT declined to 46, the proportion with titers<or=10 was not significantly different from the pre-MMR2 proportion, and 5% were seronegative. The older group showed similar patterns, and at age 17 years both groups had comparable antibody levels.

Conclusions: The mumps antibody response to MMR2 was vigorous, but over a 12-year period titers declined to levels similar to pre-MMR2 titers. No advantage was apparent in delaying MMR2 from kindergarten to middle school.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / immunology*
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Mumps virus / immunology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wisconsin


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine