Severity of mumps disease is related to MMR vaccination status and viral shedding

Vaccine. 2016 Apr 7;34(16):1868-73. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.02.070. Epub 2016 Mar 5.


Background: During recent years, various mumps outbreaks have occurred among measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccinated persons in various countries worldwide, including the Netherlands. We studied mumps virus shedding in MMR vaccinated and unvaccinated mumps patients and related these findings to clinical data.

Methods: In this study, we included 1112 mumps patients of whom diagnostic samples were tested positive in our laboratory between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2014. We compared mumps virus shedding and severity of disease between patients who had received 2 doses of MMR (n=592) and unvaccinated mumps patients (n=195). Mumps virus shedding in saliva and urine specimens was measured by qPCR. Severity of disease was studied in a subset of patients with clinical data available.

Results: Mumps patients who had received 2 MMR doses shed less often mumps virus in their urine than unvaccinated patients. Salivary viral loads were higher at day of onset of disease in twice MMR vaccinated patients with viruria than in twice MMR vaccinated patients without viruria. However, salivary viral loads did not significantly differ between patients who had received 2 MMR doses and unvaccinated patients. Bilateral parotitis and orchitis were less often reported in patients who had received 2 MMR doses than in unvaccinated patients. Furthermore, the prevalence of bilateral parotitis and orchitis was higher among twice MMR vaccinated patients with viruria than among twice MMR vaccinated patients without viruria.

Conclusions: MMR vaccination was associated with less severe disease among mumps patients. Systemic spread of virus was associated with more severe disease. The elevated salivary viral loads in patients with systemic mumps disease suggest that these patients pose a higher risk for mumps virus transmission. Our study contributes to the understanding of mumps virus pathogenesis and shows the protective effect of MMR vaccination on severity of disease.

Keywords: MMR vaccination; Mumps disease; Orchitis; Parotitis; Salivary viral loads; Viruria.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fever / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / administration & dosage*
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / therapeutic use
  • Mumps / epidemiology*
  • Mumps / prevention & control
  • Mumps virus
  • Netherlands
  • Orchitis / epidemiology
  • Parotitis / epidemiology
  • Saliva / virology
  • Urine / virology
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Viral Load
  • Virus Shedding*
  • Young Adult


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine