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Are we hitting immunity targets? The 2006 age-specific seroprevalence of measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus in Belgium

  • H. THEETEN (a1), V. HUTSE (a2), N. HENS (a3) (a4), Y. YAVUZ (a5), K. HOPPENBROUWERS (a6), P. BEUTELS (a4), R. VRANCKX (a7) and P. VAN DAMME (a1)...

Summary

Susceptibility to vaccine-preventable diseases in Belgium in 2006 was estimated from a serum survey. Immunoglobulins against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) and diphtheria at all available ages (1–65 years), and against tetanus in >40-year-olds, were measured by ELISA. Age-standardized overall seronegativity for MMR was low (3·9%, 8·0%, 10·4%, respectively). However, the World Health Organization's targets for measles elimination were not met in 5- to 24-year-olds and about 1 in 7 women at childbearing age (15–39 years) were seronegative for rubella. In adults >40 years, tetanus immunity (87·2%, >0·16 IU/ml) largely exceeded diphtheria immunity (20–45%, >0·1 IU/ml). Despite free universal vaccination against MMR for more than 20 years and against diphtheria and tetanus for almost 60 years, our study revealed specific age groups remaining at risk for infection with these pathogens.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: H. Theeten, M.D., Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium. (Email: heidi.theeten@ua.ac.be)

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