Antibody response after measles immunization.J Med Assoc Thai. 2003 Aug; 86 Suppl 3:S701-6.JM
Measles is still an important public health problem in Thailand despite measles vaccination being practiced since 1984. Vaccine failure is one of the suspected reasons for the high incidence of measles.
To study the seroconversion rate of 9-month-old infants and to study the antibody level in 18 month-old and 4 year-old children who had measles vaccination at 9 months of age.
MATERIAL AND METHOD
Enrolled infants and children who attended the child health clinic for routine immunization at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health from March 1, 1994 to May 31, 1995. They were divided into 3 groups. Group A, 9 month-old infants who came for measles vaccination. Blood samples were drawn twice from these infants, before measles vaccination and 3 months later for measles antibody level. Group B and C were 18 month-old and 4-year-old children who came for their first and second DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis vaccine) booster. One blood sample for measles antibody was drawn from the latter group of children. Measles antibody was determined by micro-neutralization technic at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The geometric mean antibody titer before and after measles vaccination was compared by using the paired t-test.
There were 30, 31 and 34 infants/children in group A, B and C respectively. No significant measles antibody (NT antibody was less than 1:4) was detected in 93.5 per cent of 9-month-old infants. The seroconversion rate at 3 months after vaccination in group A children was 68.75 per cent while in group B, 9 months after vaccination it was 53.3 per cent. Ninety seven per cent of children in group C had NT antibody above 1:4. The geometric mean titer (GMT) of measles antibody in 9-month (before vaccination), 12-month, 18-month infants and 4 year old children was 1:2.5; 1:14.8, 1:8.2 and 1:73.8, respectively (p < 0.05).
Almost 70 per cent of vaccinees at 9 months of age had seroconversion to measles vaccine with GMT of 1:14.8 while fifty three per cent of 18 month old children had an average GMT of 1:8.2. The GMT of the two groups was significantly different (p < 0.05). At 4 years of age almost all the children had NT antibody to measles with a GMT of 1:73.8 (p < 0.05) Vaccine failure is likely to be one factor responsible for the high incidence of measles after the introduction of measles vaccine into the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI). The authors suggest giving a booster dose of measles at 15 months of age to boost the antibody level before waning of measles antibody at 18 months old, in order to protect this group of children from contracting measles.