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Immunity status of adults and children against poliomyelitis virus type 1 strains CHAT and Sabin (LSc-2ab) in Germany

Maren Eggers1*, Elena Terletskaia-Ladwig1, Holger F Rabenau2, Hans W Doerr2, Sabine Diedrich3, Gisela Enders1 and Martin Enders1

Author Affiliations

1 Labor Prof. G. Enders & Partner and Institute of Virology, Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology e.V., Stuttgart, Germany

2 Institute of Medical Virology, Hospital of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany

3 Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin, Germany

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:347  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-347

Published: 9 December 2010



In October 2007, the working group CEN/TC 216 of the European Committee for standardisation suggested that the Sabin oral poliovirus vaccine type 1 strain (LSc-2ab) presently used for virucidal tests should be replaced by another attenuated vaccine poliovirus type 1 strain, CHAT. Both strains were historically used as oral vaccines, but the Sabin type 1 strain was acknowledged to be more attenuated. In Germany, vaccination against poliomyelitis was introduced in 1962 using the oral polio vaccine (OPV) containing Sabin strain LSc-2ab. The vaccination schedule was changed from OPV to an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) containing wild polio virus type 1 strain Mahoney in 1998. In the present study, we assessed potential differences in neutralising antibody titres to Sabin and CHAT in persons with a history of either OPV, IPV, or OPV with IPV booster.


Neutralisation poliovirus antibodies against CHAT and Sabin 1 were measured in sera of 41 adults vaccinated with OPV. Additionally, sera from 28 children less than 10 years of age and immunised with IPV only were analysed. The neutralisation assay against poliovirus was performed according to WHO guidelines.


The neutralisation activity against CHAT in adults with OPV vaccination history was significantly lower than against Sabin poliovirus type 1 strains (Wilcoxon signed-rank test P < 0.025). In eight sera, the antibody titres measured against CHAT were less than 8, although the titre against Sabin 1 varied between 8 and 64. Following IPV booster, anti-CHAT antibodies increased rapidly in sera of CHAT-negative adults with OPV history. Sera from children with IPV history neutralised CHAT and Sabin 1 strains equally.


The lack of neutralising antibodies against the CHAT strain in persons vaccinated with OPV might be associated with an increased risk of reinfection with the CHAT polio virus type 1, and this implies a putative risk of transmission of the virus to polio-free communities. We strongly suggest that laboratory workers who were immunised with OPV receive a booster vaccination with IPV before handling CHAT in the laboratory.