Epidemiology and Infection

Measles, mumps, rubella and fifth disease

Changes in measles seroepidemiology of healthcare workers in southern Taiwan

T. S. HOa1, S. M. WANGa1 c2, L. R. WANGa2 and C. C. LIUa2a3 c1

a1 Department of Emergency Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Medical College and Hospital, Taiwan

a2 Centre for Infection Control, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Taiwan

a3 Department of Paediatrics, National Cheng Kung University Medical College and Hospital, Taiwan

SUMMARY

To assess the measles seroepidemiology of healthcare workers (HCWs), from 2004 to 2009 all newly recruited staff at a university hospital in Taiwan, were tested for specific immunoglobulin G antibodies for measles virus using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. A total of 1584 HCWs were included. The positivity rate of measles antibody for physicians and nurses was about 90%. The positivity of measles antibody in different age groups was 78·1%, 93·9% and 94·2% for 20–29, 30–39 and ≥40 years age groups, respectively. Equivocal results were more frequent in the 20–29 (17·1%) years age group. A lack of antibody against measles was reported for 66 (4·2%) of those tested. Medical student (8·3%) and housekeeping personnel (5·3%) had the greatest lack of antibodies. This study demonstrates the waning measles immunity in younger HCWs in Taiwan, which poses the potential risk of nosocomial transmission of measles. Periodic surveillance and revaccination of susceptible HCWs is recommended.

(Accepted March 11 2011)

(Online publication April 14 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr C. C. Liu, Department of Paediatrics, National Cheng Kung University Medical College and Hospital, No.138, Sheng-Li Road, Tainan 704, Taiwan. (Email: liucc@mail.ncku.edu.tw) [C. C. Liu]

c2 (Email: pedwang@mail.ncku.edu.tw) [S. M. Wang]

Footnotes

Part of this study was presented at the Infectious Disease Society of Taiwan Annual Conference, 10 January 2010, Taipei, Taiwan.

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