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Mumps is a common childhood disease, caused by mumps virus (paramyxovirus), that may be associated with serious complications and/or death. For example, mumps is associated with aseptic meningitis, deafness and orchitis.

The impact of mumps vaccination on the natural history of each disease in the United States can be quantified by comparing the maximum number of mumps cases reported in a given year prior to vaccine use to the number of cases of each disease reported in 1995. For mumps, 152,209 cases reported in 1968 compared to 840 cases reported in 1995 resulted in a 99.45% decrease in reported cases.1

Extensive clinical trials have demonstrated that MUMPSVAX (mumps virus vaccine live) is highly immunogenic and well tolerated.2-15 A single injection of the vaccine has been shown to induce mumps neutralizing antibodies in approximately 97% of susceptible children and approximately 93% of susceptible adults.6 The pattern of antibody response closely resembles that observed for natural mumps. Although the antibody level is significantly lower than that following natural infection; it is protective and long lasting.16 However, a small percentage (1-5%) of vaccinees may fail to seroconvert after the primary dose (see also INDICATIONS, Recommended Vaccination Schedule).

Efficacy of mumps vaccine was established in a series of double-blind controlled field trials which demonstrated a high degree of protective efficacy.15,17,18 These studies also established that seroconversion in response to mumps vaccination paralleled protection from these diseases.19

Following vaccination, antibodies associated with protection can be measured by neutralization assays, hemagglutination-inhibition (HI), or ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) tests. Neutralizing and ELISA antibodies to mumps virus are still detectable in most individuals 11-13 years after primary vaccination.20


1. Monthly Immunization Table, MMWR 45(1): 24-25, January 12, 1996.

2. Brunell, P.A.; Brickman, A.; Steinber, S.: Evaluation of a live attenuated mumps vaccine (Jeryl Lynn), Amer. J. Dis. Child. 118: 435-440, Sept. 1969.

3. Buynak, E.B.; Hilleman, M.R.; Leagus, M.B.; Whitman, J.E., Jr.; Weibel, R.E.; Stokes, J., Jr.: Jeryl Lynn strain live attenuated mumps virus vaccine. Influence of age, virus dose, lot and gammaglobulin administration on response, J. Am. Med. Assoc. 203: 9-13, Jan. 1, 1968.

4. Davidson, W.L.; Buynak, E.B.; Leagus, M.B.; Whitman, J.E., Jr.; Hilleman, M.R.: Vaccination of adults with live attenuated mumps virus vaccine, J. Am. Med. Assoc. 201: 995-998, Sept. 25, 1967.

5. Furesz, J.; Nagler, F.P.: Vaccination of school children with live mumps virus vaccine, Can. Med. Assoc. J. 102(11): 1153-1155, May 30, 1970.

6. Hilleman, M.R.; Buynak, E.B.; Weibel, R.E.; Stokes, J., Jr.: Live, attenuated mumps-virus vaccine, New Engl. J. Med. 278: 227-232, Feb. 1, 1968.

7. Horowitz, S.D.; Nagatani, M.S.; Bowen, G.S.; Holloway, A.W.; St. Geme, J.W., Jr.: The acquisition of delayed hypersensitivity following attenuated mumps virus infection, Pediatrics 45(1): 77-82, Jan. 1970.

8. Margileth, A.M.; Mella, G.W.; Di Moia, F.: Live mumps virus vaccine: Clinical reactions and serological response in 615 children, Med. Ann. D.C. 37: 197-201, 1968.

9. Nickey, L.N.; Huchton, P.; McGee, W.G.: Jeryl Lynn strain live attenuated mumps virus vaccine in a private pediatric practice, South Med. J. 63: 306-308, March 1970.

10. Nickey, L.N.; Huchton, P.; McGee, W.G.: Live virus mumps vaccine in pediatrics, Texas Med. 64: 63-65, Sept. 1968.

11. Riley, H.D., Jr.; Franco, S.F.; Linares, M.S.; Hughes, J.: Studies of live attenuated mumps virus vaccine, Proc. South. Soc. Ped. Res. 60: 1351, Dec. 1967 (in Soc. Proc.).

12. Roth, A.: Immunization with live attenuated mumps virus vaccine in Honolulu. A field trial, Amer. J. Dis. Child. 115: 459-460, April, 1968.

13. Stokes, J., Jr.; Weibel, R.E.; Buynak, E.B.; Hilleman, M.R.: Live attenuated mumps virus vaccine. II. Early clinical studies, Pediatrics 39: 363-371, Mar. 1967.

14. Sugg, W.C.; Finger, J.A.; Levine, R.H.; Pagano, J.S.: Field evaluation of live virus mumps vaccine, J. Pediatrics 72(4): 461-466, April, 1968.

15. Weibel, R.E.; Stokes, J., Jr.; Buynak, E.B.; Whitman, J.E., Jr.; Hilleman, M.R.: Live, attenuated mumps-virus vaccine. 3. Clinical and serologic aspects in a field evaluation, New Engl. J. Med. 276: 245-251, Feb. 2, 1967.

16. Recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP), Mumps Prevention, MMWR 38(22): 388-400, June 9, 1989.

17. Hilleman, M.R.; Weibel, R.E.; Buynak, E.B.; Stokes, J., Jr.; Whitman, J.E., Jr.: Live, attenuated mumps-virus vaccine. 4. Protective efficacy as measured in a field evaluation, New Engl. J. Med. 276: 252-258, Feb. 2, 1967.

18. Weibel, R.E.; Buynak, E.B.; Stokes, J.; et al: Evaluation of Live Attenuated Mumps Virus Vaccine Strain Jeryl Lynn, First International Conference on Vaccines Against Viral and Rickettsial Diseases of Man, World Health Organization, No. 147, May 1967.

19. Buynak, E.B., et al: Live Attenuated Mumps Virus Vaccine 1. Vaccine Development, Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 123: 768-775, 1966.

20. Unpublished data from the files of Merck Research Laboratories.

Last reviewed on RxList: 12/29/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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