This test checks for immunity to the virus that causes mumps.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
This test can also be purchased bundled as the Immune Status – MMR panel.
PREPARATION: No fasting or other special preparation is needed for this test.
What does this test do?
This test checks for immunity to the virus that causes the mumps.
Why is this important?
The mumps virus is highly contagious, and is easily transmitted from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing, and other airborne methods. It causes mumps, a disease which is characterized by fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and painful swelling of one (or both) parotid salivary glands.
In the majority of its victims mumps is a mild, self-limited disease; in fact about a third of infected people experience mild or no symptoms at all. But adults who contract the disease often have symptoms that are more severe than in children, and they may have complications that include meningitis, pancreatitis, permanent deafness, and in men, testicular inflammation which sometimes leads to infertility. About one in ten thousand people who are infected with the mumps virus die from the disease.
Prior to the vaccine era, mumps was responsible for millions of cases each year around the world. During the latter half of the 20th century, however, the incidence of mumps has declined by more than 90 percent due to efforts to immunize young children against infection with the mumps virus.
The vaccine works to stimulate the production of antibodies, which are molecules that help the immune system target and destroy the viruses when they try to enter the bloodstream. As long as these antibodies circulate in sufficient quantities, the likelihood of a mumps virus infection stays low.
As people get older though the immune system ages too, and sometimes adults stop producing antibodies to the mumps virus. Treatment with drugs that suppress the immune system can also cause a reduction in immunity. If that happens, then there is an increased risk of contracting mumps. In fact, documented outbreaks have been seen in vaccinated populations, including a large epidemic that peaked in the UK during 2005, and several outbreaks during 2006 in the American midwest.
What do the results mean?
This test determines the presence of antibodies to the mumps virus circulating in the bloodstream. In other words, if you have either had mumps in the past, or if you’ve been immunized against mumps, then you should have antibodies to the virus and a positive result indicates ongoing protection.
A negative result means that you do not have a significant number of the expected antibodies, and you are no longer immune to the mumps virus. If this is the case then you should talk to your doctor about what the results mean, as well as the pros and cons of getting vaccinated.