Immunology

Infants usually have a passive immunity to mumps because of maternal antibodies acquired transplacental^ from their immune mothers. This passive immunity protects the infant from mumps infection for about 6 months, depending on the amount of maternal antibody acquired.

Mumps infection in both clinically apparent and inapparent cases induces a lifelong immunity. Because a significant percentage of mumps infections are clinically inapparent, persons may develop immunity without recognizing they have been infected. Several serologic tests for confirming infection or immunity have been developed, and it is also possible to isolate the virus from patients during the acute phase of the disease. Skin tests for immunity are not considered reliable.

A single dose of live attenuated mumps virus vaccine confers long-term, probably lifelong, immunity in over 90 percent of susceptible individuals.

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