Kinetics of decline of maternal measles virus-neutralizing antibodies in sera of infants in France in 2006.Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2008 Dec; 15(12):1845-50.CV
The optimal age for measles vaccination is an important health issue, since maternal antibodies may neutralize the vaccine antigen before a specific immune response develops, while delaying vaccination may increase the risk of complicated diseases in infants. However, measles vaccination impacts the duration of protection afforded by transplacental transfer of maternal antibodies: vaccination-induced maternal antibodies disappear faster than disease-induced antibodies. In order to maintain protection against measles in infants, it is important to monitor the dynamics of this phenomenon in vaccinated populations. To assess the current situation in France, a multicenter, prospective seroepidemiological study was conducted in seven French hospitals between October 2005 and January 2007. Maternal measles antibody concentrations from 348 infants 0 to 15 months old were measured using the plaque reduction neutralization assay. Geometric mean concentrations and the percentage of infants with maternal measles antibody concentrations above the protection threshold (>or=120 mIU/ml) were assessed according to age. Results show that after more than 20 years of routine measles vaccination in France, maternal measles-neutralizing antibodies decrease dramatically in French infants by 6 months of age, from 1,740 mIU/ml for infants 0 to 1 month old to 223 mIU/ml for infants 5 to 6 months old, and that 90% of infants are not protected against measles after 6 months of age. Infant protection against measles could be optimized both by increasing herd immunity through an increased vaccine coverage and by lowering the age of routine vaccination from 12 to 9 months.