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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Seroprevalence of measles, mumps, rubella, varicella–zoster and hepatitis A–C in Emirati medical students

Mohamud Sheek-Hussein1*, Rayhan Hashmey2, Ahmed R Alsuwaidi3, Fatima Al Maskari1, Leena Amiri4 and Abdul-Kader Souid3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, UAE University, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, P.O. Box 17666, Al-Ain, UAE

2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, UAE

3 Department of Pediatrics, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE

4 Department of Psychiatry, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, UAE

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:1047  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1047

Published: 5 December 2012

Abstract

Background

The aims of this study were to assess the seroprevalence of vaccine-preventable infections in Emirati medical students, and to provide scientific evidence for implementation of a cost-effective immunization guideline and policy for medical school admission.

Methods

This prospective cohort study involved 261 (61% female) Emirati medical students (preclinical and clinical) attending the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAE University. Data on vaccination and history of infectious diseases were collected from participants. Blood samples were collected between July 1, 2011 and May 30, 2012 for serological testing and QuantiFERON®-TB assay.

Results

All students tested negative for infection with hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus. The prevalence of seropositivity to rubella virus was 97%, varicella–zoster virus 88%, mumps virus 84%, measles virus 54%, hepatitis B virus (HBV) 48%, and hepatitis A virus 21%. The QuantiFERON®-TB test was positive in 8% and indeterminate in 2%. Forty percent of students received HBV vaccine at birth; their HBV titers (mean ± SD) were 17.2 ± 62.9 mIU/mL (median = 1.64). The remaining 60% received it at school and their titers were 293.4 ± 371.0 mIU/mL (median = 107.7, p = 0.000).

Conclusion

About 50% of students were susceptible to HBV and measles virus; therefore, pre-matriculation screening for antibodies against these viruses is highly recommended. Moreover, tuberculosis screening is necessary because of the high influx of expatriates from endemic areas. Students with inadequate protection should be reimmunized prior to contact with patients.

Keywords:
Medical student; Immunization; Blood borne; Transmission; Prevention; UAE