Vaccination against mumps virus (MuV) (mostly measles-mumps-rubella) is routinely performed in more than 120 countries and has resulted in a distinct decrease of mumps incidence. However, alteration of mumps epidemiology has been observed in several countries after implementation of the vaccine but is sparsely documented. Moreover, outbreaks have occurred after starting vaccination, even in highly vaccinated populations. In the former German Democratic Republic (DDR) mumps was a notifiable disease but vaccination against mumps was not implemented. In the five eastern German states forming the DDR until 1990, mumps was not notifiable until 2001. Except for the lack of reporting between 1990–2000, data from Eastern Germany allow analysis of mumps epidemiology after initiating the vaccination campaign. For the period from 2001 to 2016 the data show that the incidence of mumps dropped notably after initiating vaccines, and was accompanied by an increase of the median age of patients with mumps. In Eastern Germany, no outbreaks were noted, while several outbreaks occurred in Western Germany, possibly due to a lower vaccination rate. Further literature analysis revealed that outbreaks were facilitated by waning immunity and crowding. Nevertheless, although vaccination prevented infection, the course of illness, once infected, was sometimes more complicated. In comparison to non-vaccinated populations, high rates of complicated courses occurred and were marked by orchitis, due to higher age of mumps patients. Therefore, refusing vaccination against mumps increases the risk of severe courses when living in a vaccinated population.
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