To characterize patients with mumps vaccine failure, avidity testing was performed with the Enzygnost Anti-Parotitis Virus/IgG kit using a single-dilution-6 M urea denaturation method. Five groups of patients were tested. Group 1 consisted of 29 patients with primary mumps infections; group 2 was 20 children and adults with a definite history of natural infection; group 3 was 7 patients with a recent mumps vaccination, 1 of whom developed parotid gland swelling and aseptic meningitis; group 4 was 14 patients with mumps vaccine failure; and group 5 was 6 patients with recurrent episodes of parotitis in addition to a history of vaccination. On the basis of the results of groups 1 and 2, an avidity of </=31% was determined to be low, and >/=32% was determined to be high. Avidity maturation from low to high appears to occur around 180 days after the acute illness. The results of group 3 showed that the vaccine-induced immunoglobulin G (IgG) had very low avidity. Among the 14 patients in group 4, 12 patients, including 7 with a positive IgM response, were diagnosed as having secondary vaccine failures. The results of group 5 suggested the possibility that the avidity of the mumps vaccine-induced IgG remains low or borderline. These results showed that secondary mumps vaccine failure occurs not infrequently, even among school age children under condition in which the vaccine coverage is low (i.e., 33% in our study population), and therefore, vaccinees are prone to be exposed to wild-type viruses. Avidity testing should provide information useful for the analysis of mumps virus infections.