Research Articles

Using the Surveillance Tool EpiWATCH to Rapidly Detect Global Mumps Outbreaks.



Background: Non-validated, rapid intelligence surveillance data is becoming more important in detecting and responding to public health emergencies in the absence of readily available, validated surveillance data published by reputable sources such as WHO or the CDC. There is a lack of timely mumps surveillance data, which is particularly concerning as a resurgence of mumps outbreaks seem to be occurring worldwide in fully vaccinated young adults. Methods: Using open-source mumps data obtained between 2016-2019 from the rapid intelligence surveillance tool EpiWATCH, a descriptive analysis was conducted to identify information about the number of confirmed/probable/suspected mumps cases and also the date, country, and location of outbreaks. Results: Data entries logged into EpiWATCH detected 65 mumps outbreaks worldwide with a majority of outbreaks occurring in university settings, where a majority of students had been fully vaccinated against the disease. School and university settings were identified as high-risk environments susceptible to mumps outbreaks explained by the prolonged, close-contact nature in which students interact. EpiWATCH was able to detect reported cases of mumps within days of news outlets publishing this information; far quicker than the months it takes for case data to be published by validated sources. EpiWATCH was also able to capture mumps outbreak data not previously detected by WHO or the CDC. Conclusions: The resurgence of mumps in fully vaccinated young adults is likely due to secondary vaccine failure and possibly genetic drift of WT mumps strains. Global and readily available mumps surveillance data is lacking; however, EpiWATCH has been successful in somewhat filling these gaps of information and, more importantly, providing surveillance data in a timely fashion. Thus, data from EpiWATCH could be used in the field to improve the speed of detection and response to mumps outbreaks.


mumpsmumps outbreaksrapid intelligenceEpiWATCHopen-source data
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 2
  • DOI: 10.31646/gbio.54
  • Submitted on 24 Feb 2020
  • Published on 30 Apr 2020
  • Peer Reviewed