Sub-optimal prevalence of mumps antibodies in a population based study of young adults in Israel after 20 years of two dose universal vaccination policy

Hagai Levine, Omer E. Ankol, Vladi Rozhavski, Nadav Davidovitch, Yair Aboudy, Salman Zarka, Ran D. Balicer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A recent mumps outbreak in Israel despite an ongoing national program of a 2-dose universal childhood vaccination policy since 1988, raised questions regarding population immunity among young adults. Objective: To assess the seroprevalence of mumps antibodies among young Israeli adults born after 1987 in order to determine evidence based vaccination policy. Methods: We conducted a seroprevalence study of mumps IgG antibodies among 441 Israeli adults born in 1988-9, based on a representative sample of sera collected upon recruitment to mandatory military service in 2007. Results: The overall seroprevalence of IgG antibody to mumps virus among 1988-9 born was 83.7%, 82.1% among males and 85.7% among females. Seroprevalence among 2007 recruits was similar to 1999 recruits (83.3%, P=0.89) and significantly lower than 1987 recruits (94.1%, P<0.0001). The absolute decrease between 2007 and 1987 for males was 13.1% (P<0.0001) and for females 7.0% (P=0.02). Seroprevalence was not significantly higher among native Israelis (84.9%) than among young adults born in the Commonwealth of Independent States (81.1%, P=0.46) and significantly higher compared to young adults born in Western Europe or North America (68.2%, P=0.045). Conclusions: Our findings indicate sub-optimal population seroprevalence despite a 2-dose universal childhood vaccination policy. This study allows better understanding of current mumps outbreaks in Israel and elsewhere following periods of low circulation of wild virus. These findings support mumps vaccination, even for populations and individuals that received two doses during childhood, as means for outbreak containment among young adults, especially in crowded settings, and serve as a reminder to the need for dynamic vaccination policy, supported by health promotion activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2785-2790
Number of pages6
Issue number15
StatePublished - 24 Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Contributors: The lead author, Dr Levine, had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Study concept and design: Balicer and Levine. Lab analysis: Aboudy. Data management, acquisition and statistical analysis: Rozhavski and Levine. Interpretation of data: Levine, Balicer, Ankol, Zarka and Davidovitch. Manuscript drafting: Levine. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors. Administrative, technical, and material support: Zarka and Ankol. All authors have made substantial contribution and have approved the final version of the article. Conflict of interest statement: All authors have no conflicts of interest. Funding: This study was supported by a research grant of the IDF Medical Corps and Israeli Ministry of Defense who had no involvement in the research.


  • Antibodies
  • Epidemiology
  • Mumps
  • Vaccine
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Veterinary (all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)


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