Waning immunity to mumps after one or two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been described. Using a human peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL)-severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse model, MMR vaccine recipients with undetectable and high antibody titres against mumps were compared for the presence of circulating mumps-specific memory B cells. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from six donors (three subjects with undetectable and three with high antibody titres against mumps) were injected into the spleens of non-obese diabetic (NOD)-SCID mice (three mice per subject). Mice were pretreated with TMbeta1 and total body irradiation to improve engraftment. In vivo production of human antibodies against mumps was evaluated in mouse plasma on days 7, 10 and 13 with a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), functional reduction neutralization test. Three donors had mumps antibody titres below the detection limit (titre < 230) and three had high antibody titres (range 5700-7300). None of the mice injected with PBMC from subjects with undetectable antibody titres showed detectable human antibody titres, despite the presence of cell-mediated immunity in two of the three donors. Seven out of nine mice injected with PBMC from subjects with high antibody titres acquired detectable antibody titres for mumps in their plasma. PBMC from vaccinees without detectable serum antibodies against mumps virus were unable to induce secretion of anti-mumps antibodies in the blood of recipient mice, whereas PBMC from vaccinees with high antibody titres were able to do so. This observation suggests that the frequency of mumps-specific memory B cells is very low in vaccinees with undetectable antibody titres. These individuals may therefore be at risk of developing mumps disease upon encounter with wild-type virus.