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Open Access Research article

Assessment of measles immunity among infants in Maputo City, Mozambique

Jagrati V Jani12*, Carol Holm-Hansen3, Tufária Mussá1, Arlinda Zango1, Ivan Manhiça1, Gunnar Bjune2 and Ilesh V Jani1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Immunology, Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Mozambique

2 Department of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway

3 Division of Infectious Disease Control, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:386  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-386

Published: 12 November 2008

Abstract

Background

The optimum age for measles vaccination varies from country to country and thus a standardized vaccination schedule is controversial. While the increase in measles vaccination coverage has produced significant changes in the epidemiology of infection, vaccination schedules have not been adjusted. Instead, measures to cut wild-type virus transmission through mass vaccination campaigns have been instituted. This study estimates the presence of measles antibodies among six- and nine-month-old children and assesses the current vaccination seroconversion by using a non invasive method in Maputo City, Mozambique.

Methods

Six- and nine-month old children and their mothers were screened in a cross-sectional study for measles-specific antibodies in oral fluid. All vaccinated children were invited for a follow-up visit 15 days after immunization to assess seroconversion.

Results

82.4% of the children lost maternal antibodies by six months. Most children were antibody-positive post-vaccination at nine months, although 30.5 % of nine month old children had antibodies in oral fluid before vaccination. We suggest that these pre-vaccination antibodies are due to contact with wild-type of measles virus. The observed seroconversion rate after vaccination was 84.2%.

Conclusion

These data indicate a need to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the measles immunization policy in the current epidemiological scenario.