Rubella seroprevalence in an unvaccinated population in Izmir: recommendations for rubella vaccination in Turkey

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1999 Jul;18(7):577-80. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199907000-00003.


Background: The European Advisory Group on the Expanded Program on Immunization of WHO has recommended that by 2010 or earlier congenital rubella should be well-controlled or eliminated in all countries in Europe. Debate on the introduction of rubella vaccine into national immunization schedules continues to occur, and data on rubella and congenital rubella syndrome in Turkey are insufficient.

Objective: To determine age-specific rubella seroprevalence in the 1- to 29-year-old unvaccinated population in Izmir, Turkey.

Methods: A total of 600 unvaccinated persons 1 to 29 years old were selected for the study with cluster sampling in Izmir, Turkey. The information on sociodemographic characteristics and disease history was gathered for each participant, and in 580 of them rubella-specific IgG antibodies were assayed quantitatively by the micro-enzyme immunoassay.

Results: Of the 580 participants tested for rubella antibodies, 135 (23.3%) were seronegative. The proportions of susceptible individuals were 61.7, 29.5, 12.4, 10.3 and 8.4% in the age groups of 1 to 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 14, 15 to 19 and 20 to 29 years, respectively. Of the young women 15 to 19 years of age, 13.5% were susceptible to rubella infection.

Conclusions: Because a substantial proportion of women in their childbearing years are susceptible to rubella, immunization efforts should be directed at infants or prepubertal children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Rubella / epidemiology*
  • Rubella Syndrome, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Rubella Vaccine*
  • Rubella virus / immunology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Vaccination


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Rubella Vaccine