Mumps clinical diagnostic uncertainty

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Background During recent years, various mumps outbreaks have occurred among populations vaccinated for mumps worldwide. In Italy, improving routine coverage with two doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is one of the key strategies to eliminate measles and rubella. To monitor the effect of the vaccination programme on the population, the surveillance of these vaccine-preventable diseases has been implemented. This provided the opportunity to evaluate the accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of those diseases, including mumps. In fact, vaccinated children may develop a variety of diseases caused by a series of different viruses [Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), parainfluenza virus types 1-3, adenoviruses, herpes virus and parvovirus B19] whose symptoms (i.e. swelling of parotid glands) may mimic mumps. For this reason, laboratory diagnosis is essential to confirm clinical suspicion. Methods The accuracy of clinical diagnosis of mumps was evaluated by differential diagnosis on EBV in Italy, a country at low incidence of mumps. This retrospective study investigated whether the etiology of 131 suspected mumps cases with a negative molecular/serological result for mumps virus, obtained from 2007 to 2016, were due to EBV, in order to establish a diagnosis. Results Differential diagnosis revealed a EBV positivity rate of 19.8% and all cases were caused by EBV type 1. Conclusions This study confirms the importance of a lab based differential diagnosis that can discriminate between different infectious diseases presenting with symptoms suggestive of mumps and, in particular, emphasize the importance to discriminate between mumps and EBV-related mononucleosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-123
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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