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J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Mar;47(3):560-5. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01756-08. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Characterization of large mumps outbreak among vaccinated Palestinian refugees.

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Central Virology Laboratory, Public Health Services, Ministry of Health, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.


During a large mumps virus (MuV) outbreak which occurred in the Palestinian refugee camps of the West Bank, 68.1% (2,636/3,871) of the cases were vaccinated with one dose of trivalent measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Attack rates by camp ranged from less than 1 case per 1,000 people in the population to 43/1,000 (overall, 11/1,000). The outbreak lasted from December 2003 to June 2005, with two peaks, one from April to May 2004 and the other from March to April 2005. To control the outbreak, a mass MMR vaccination campaign was conducted in May 2005. Evaluation of the immune status of cases (n=59) and healthy controls (n=51) revealed high levels of mumps immunoglobulin G (IgG) and a low MuV-specific IgM in clinical cases indicative of a booster immune response. This suggested a secondary rather than a primary infection due to the insufficient protection conferred by the single vaccine dose included in the vaccination program. This prediction was further confirmed by the low seroprevalence (68.6%) found in the healthy control group, which was below the threshold level required for MuV herd immunity. Mumps diagnosis was established mainly by reverse transcription-PCR in clinical samples obtained within 48 h from the onset of disease. Of the parotid fluids and nasopharyngeal aspirates analyzed, 92% were positive for MuV RNA, while only 33% of the urine samples were positive. Phylogenetic analysis of the MuV SH gene identified the outbreak strain as the H genotype, which has been in circulation worldwide at least since 1989.

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