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Routine administration of oral polio vaccine in a subtropical area. Factors possibly influencing sero-conversion rates*

  • T. A. Swartz (a1), Paulina Skalska (a2), C. G. Gerichter (a2) and W. C. Cockburn (a3)

Poliomyelitis is an important problem of public health in warm-climate countries. Studies of serological responses to vaccination in these countries have given conflicting results but in many investigations the rates have been considerably less than in countries with temperate climates. In this study three possible factors influencing sero-conversion were investigated – the season of the year when vaccine was given, the social status of the mother (as indicated by the number of years of schooling) and the presence of non-poliomyelitis viruses (NPV) in the gut when vaccine was given.

Over 200 children about 2 months of age were included in the study. Each was given three doses of trivalent vaccine at 6-week intervals.

The sero-conversion rates of the groups fed in winter were excellent but were slightly less good in summer. The differences were greatest in children in the lower socio-economic groups and in children excreting other enteroviruses.

The conclusions are that, provided a potent vaccine is used, the factors which diminish the effectiveness of immunization in warm-climate countries can be overcome: (1) by giving three doses of trivalent vaccine; (2) by beginning vaccination at the earliest possible age (when enteroviruses are fewest); (3) by concentrating special attention on the lower socio-economic groups and if necessary by giving a reinforcing dose several months after the third dose has been given – preferably in the colder months.

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Drozdov S. G. & Cockburn W. C. (1967). The state of poliomyelitis in the World. In Proceedings of the First International Conference on Vaccines against Viral and Rickettsial Diseases of Man. Pan American Health Organization, Scientific Publication No. 147, Washington, pp. 198209.
Drozdov S. G. & Cockburn W. C. (1971). Poliomyelitis in the developed and developing countries. In Proceedings of the International Conference on the Application of Vaccines against Viral, Rickettsial, and Bacterial Diseases of Man. Pan American Health Organization, Scientific Publication No. 226, Washington, pp. 163–70.
Ministry of Health (1968). Health Services in Israel, Jerusalem, p. 46.
Montefiore D. G. (1971). Problems of poliomyelitis immunization in countries with warm climates. In Pan American Health Organization, Scientific Publication No. 226, Washington, pp. 182–5.
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Report. (1966). Poliomyelitis vaccination in Ibadan, Nigeria, during 1964 with oral vaccine (Sabin strains). Poliomyelitis Commission of the Western Region Ministry of Health, Nigeria. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 34, 865–76.
Sabin A. B., Ramos-Alvarez M., Alvarez-Amezquita J., Pelon W., Michaels R. H., Spigland I., Koch M. A., Barnes J. M. & Rhim J. S. (1960). Live orally given poliovirus vaccine: effects of rapid mass immunization on population under conditions of massive enteric infection with other viruses. Journal of the American Medical Association 173, 1521–6.
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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