Assessment of mumps virus-specific antibodies by different serological assays: which test correlates best with mumps immunity?

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2011 Oct;30(10):1223-8. doi: 10.1007/s10096-011-1216-z. Epub 2011 Apr 1.


Mumps is one of the vaccine-preventable childhood diseases and it has not yet been eradicated in Germany. This raises the question as to whether the available mumps vaccines are effective enough to prevent mumps and which antibody test system allows the authentic assigning of mumps-specific immunity. In an attempt to answer this question, we analysed 227 sera samples from medical students of the University Hospital Frankfurt/Main, Germany, using different test systems: indirect immune fluorescence, neutralisation assay, routine ELISA and newly developed immunoassays, which contain the mumps nucleoprotein and the wild-type strain Enders ATCC VR106, respectively. Mumps vaccination coverage of the screened collective amounted to 75.1%, which differs notably from the detected mumps-specific seropositivity rates in the literature (range 53.3% to 82.4%). In contrast, a small group of unvaccinated students had much higher seropositivity rates. Of course, assigned vaccination coverage and calculated seropositivity rates are not effective enough to interrupt the transmission of the mumps virus. The often-occurring mumps outbreaks, some in highly vaccinated populations, may not always demonstrate vaccine failure. The investigation of newly developed test systems and the occurrence of different mumps virus genotypes should also be considered.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Male
  • Mumps / immunology*
  • Mumps virus / immunology*
  • Students, Medical


  • Antibodies, Viral