Seroprevalence of diphtheria toxoid IgG antibodies in children, adolescents and adults in Poland
Department of Bacteriology, National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene, Chocimska 24, Warsaw 00-791, Poland
BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:551 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-551Published: 19 November 2013
Recommendations for diphtheria immunization are to apply an effective primary immunization in infancy and to maintain immunity throughout life. Immunity against diphtheria depends primarily on antibody to the diphtheria toxin. This study evaluated the seroprevalence of IgG diphtheria antitoxin in sera of healthy children, adolescents and adults in Poland.
A total of 1387 serum samples collected between 2010 and 2012 from individuals with ages ranging from 1 month to 85 years were investigated. Antibody concentrations were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Anti-Diphtheria Toxoid ELISA IgG, Euroimmun, Germany).
The results showed that among 1387 individuals examined, 547 (39.4%) had anti-diphtheria toxoid IgG antibody levels below 0.1 IU/ml (36.9% ≤18 years and 40.5% >18 years old, respectively). The 212 (50.8%) children and 542 (55.9%) adults showed only basic protection (0.1-1.0 IU/ml) and need immediate booster. High levels of anti-diphtheria toxoid IgG antibodies (>1.0 IU/ml) were found more often in children and adolescent (12.2%) than in adults (3.6%) and this was statistically significant (P < 0.05). The proportion of seronegatives (< 0.1 IU/ml) in children below 2 years old, adolescents and young adults to 25 years old decreased from 53.5% to 17.4%. However, in older individuals the seronegative proportion tended to increase with age, from 22.7% in adults (26–30 years old) to 67.1% in subjects > 60 years old. Characteristically, in individuals > 40 years old high levels of anti-diphtheria toxoid IgG antibodies (>1.0 IU/ml) were not seen. There were no statistically significant differences in results in relation to gender.
The present study showed inadequate immunity levels to diphtheria amongst the Polish population, especially in adults > 40 years old and children ≤ 2 years old. To prevent reemergence of diphtheria an information campaign reminding people about recommendations concerning diphtheria booster vaccination in adults should be conducted. Moreover, the immunogenicity of the DTP vaccine used in Poland should be verified.