Aaron A. King, Ph.D.

Nelson G. Hairston Collegiate Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology,
Complex Systems, and Mathematics, University of Michigan
External Professor, Santa Fe Institute
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Disentangling the causes of mumps reemergence in the United States

D. V. Gokhale, T. S. Brett, B. He, A. A. King, and P. Rohani
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120(3): e2207595120, 2023.
Mumps distribution in the United States through time, by age and geographical location.

Over the past two decades, multiple countries with high vaccine coverage have experienced resurgent outbreaks of mumps. Worryingly, in these countries, a high proportion of cases have been among those who have completed the recommended vaccination schedule, raising alarm about the effectiveness of existing vaccines. Two putative mechanisms of vaccine failure have been proposed as driving observed trends: 1) gradual waning of vaccine-derived immunity (necessitating additional booster doses) and 2) the introduction of novel viral genotypes capable of evading vaccinal immunity. Focusing on the United States, we conduct statistical likelihood-based hypothesis testing using a mechanistic transmission model on age-structured epidemiological, demographic, and vaccine uptake time series data. We find that the data are most consistent with the waning hypothesis and estimate that 32.8% (32%, 33.5%) of individuals lose vaccine-derived immunity by age 18 y. Furthermore, we show using our transmission model how waning vaccine immunity reproduces qualitative and quantitatively consistent features of epidemiological data, namely 1) the shift in mumps incidence toward older individuals, 2) the recent recurrence of mumps outbreaks, and 3) the high proportion of mumps cases among previously vaccinated individuals.

The official version of the paper is here.   Please contact Prof. King if you'd like a reprint.

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