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Diagnosis of measles with an IgM capture EIA: the optimal timing of specimen collection after rash onset.

The optimal timing for collection of a single serum specimen to diagnose measles by using a monoclonal antibody-capture EIA was evaluated. Results of testing paired serum samples from 166 measles cases with at least 1 IgM-positive specimen were analyzed. Among persons whose second samples were IgM-positive, the seropositivity rate for first samples was 77% when collected within 72 h and 100% when collected 4-11 days after rash onset. Among unvaccinated persons whose first samples were IgM-positive, the rate for IgM positivity of second specimens declined from 100% at 4 days to 94% at 4 weeks after rash onset, then declined further to 63% at 5 weeks. Some previously vaccinated persons became IgM-negative during the third week after rash onset. In general, a single serum specimen collected between 72 h and 4 weeks after rash onset can be used to diagnose most cases of measles with an IgM capture EIA.

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