Seroprevalence of antibody to mumps virus in the US population, 1999-2004

J Infect Dis. 2010 Sep 1;202(5):667-74. doi: 10.1086/655394.


Background: In 2006, the largest mumps outbreak in the United States in 20 years occurred. To understand prior mumps seroprevalence and factors associated with the presence of antibody to mumps virus, data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed.

Methods: A mumps virus-specific enzyme immunoassay was used to measure the seroprevalence of serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody among NHANES participants aged 6-49 years. Participants were grouped on the basis of 10-year birth cohorts, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using SUDAAN software, and logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors.

Results: The overall age-adjusted seroprevalence of IgG antibody to mumps virus during 1999-2004 was 90.0% (95% CI, 88.8%-91.1%). Seroprevalence was higher among US-born non-Hispanic blacks (96.4% [95% CI, 95.5%-97.2%]) and non-US-born Mexican Americans (93.7% [95% CI, 92.0%-95.2%]). Seroprevalence was significantly lower in the 1967-1976 birth cohort (85.7% [95% CI, 83.5%-87.8%]). The variables sex, education, and race/ethnicity/birthplace were independent predictors in at least 1 of the birth cohorts.

Conclusions: The overall estimate of 90.0% is at the lower end of the estimated population immunity (90%-92%) needed to achieve herd immunity. Lower seroprevalence among groups suggest that they represent populations at an increased risk. For mumps control, high vaccine coverage and high population immunity must be achieved and maintained.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Distribution
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mumps / epidemiology*
  • Mumps / ethnology
  • Mumps / immunology
  • Mumps virus / immunology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States / ethnology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G