Measles-mumps-rubella revaccination; 18 months vs. 4-6 years of age: potential impacts of schedule changes

Mohammed Jafar Saffar, Golam Reza Fathpour, Mohammed Reza Parsaei, Abolghasem Ajami, Ali Reza Khalilian, Jalil Shojaei, Hana Saffar
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics 2011, 57 (5): 347-51

OBJECTIVE: The policy of administering the second dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine (MMR(2)) has recently changed in Iran, at age 1.5 years instead of 4-6 years previously. The effects of such a change on the immune status of the individual are evaluated in this study.

METHODS: Totally 249 and 228 children aged 18 months and 4- to 6-year-olds, respectively, with a documented receipt of primary MMR vaccine at the age of ≥ 1 year were enrolled. Before, and 4-6 weeks after MMR(2) administration, anti-MMR IgG antibody levels were measured using ELISA method. IgM antibody levels were also assessed in measles-rubella seronegative children that responded to MMR(2). Collected data for each component from both age groups were compared by using Fischer's exact probability and chi-square tests.

RESULTS: Before revaccination, measles seroimmunity rate was similar between the two groups, but rates to mumps and rubella were significantly higher in younger children-measles: 74 vs. 78.3%; mumps: 82.3 vs. 68.4% and rubella: 75% vs. 67%, respectively. After administration of MMR(2), all seroimmune subjects were IgG boosted. Except for rubella, older seronegative children showed significantly higher seroconvertion rate to MMR(2) and seroprevalence rates increased in vaccinees--measles: 98.2 vs. 94%, mumps: 97 vs. 94.4% and rubella: 87 vs. 92.4%, respectively. Only few measles-rubella seronegative children showed IgM response to MMR(2).

CONCLUSION: This study showed that the majority of younger children were susceptible to MMR infection before revaccination. Earlier age policy provides more protection against MMR in preschool-aged children. Rubella strain seems to be less potent than reported.

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