In Italy, although vaccination has been recommended for a number of years, vaccination coverage for mumps is still sub-optimal. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the seroprevalence of mumps antibodies in the Italian population, stratified by age, gender and geographical area. The proportion of individuals positive for mumps antibodies remained stable in the age classes 0-11 months and 1 year (25.4% and 30.8%, respectively) and showed a continuous increase after the second year of life. The percentage of susceptible individuals was higher than 20% in persons 2-14 years of age and exceeded 10% in persons 15-39 years of age. No statistically significant differences were observed by gender or geographical area. Comparison between these results and the data obtained from a 1996 survey showed a statistically significant increase in seroprevalence in the age class 2-4 years. No changes were observed in the other age-groups. The results of this study confirm that the efforts made in recent years to improve vaccination coverage within the second year of life should be strengthened. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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