Age-stratified seroprevalence of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) virus infections in Switzerland after the introduction of MMR mass vaccination

L Matter, D Germann, F Bally, K Schopfer
European Journal of Epidemiology 1997, 13 (1): 61-6
We have performed age-stratified seroprevalence studies for MMR to evaluate these vaccinations. Serum samples submitted for diagnostic testing were randomly selected for unlinked anonymous panels. IgG antibodies were tested by ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence. In the vaccination cohort (age 1.5 to 6.5 years), seroprevalence attained 80%. For measles and mumps it continued to increase to 95%, while for rubella it declined transiently to 60% between 7 and 12 years of age. We observed no differences according to gender in any age group in 1991-1992. (Semi)quantitative values of the IgG antibodies against all three viruses increased during adolescence, suggesting wild virus circulation. In 1992, MMR vaccination has reached < 80% of the children during their second year of age. Due to previous monovalent measles and mumps vaccinations in pre-school children and due to endemic and epidemic activity, particularly of mumps virus, a trough of the seroprevalence in adolescents was evident only for rubella. MMR vaccination campaigns performed at school since 1987 have increase seroprevalence in this population segment and have probably over-compensated for the expected shift to the right of the seroprevalence curves. A more compulsive implementation of the recommended childhood vaccination schedule and continued efforts at catchup vaccinations during school age especially for rubella are necessary to avoid the accumulation of susceptible young adults during the forthcoming decades.

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