Specific antibodies to poliovirus type I in breastmilk of unvaccinated mothers before and seven years after start of community-wide vaccination of their infants with live, oral poliovirus vaccine

Acta Paediatr Scand. 1991 Dec;80(12):1174-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1991.tb11806.x.


Secretory IgA (SIgA) antibodies against poliovirus type 1 were determined using the ELISA method in breastmilk samples obtained each month from 100 young, healthy, unvaccinated mothers living in urban slum areas of Lahore, Pakistan. The study covered two different groups, one in 1980-1981 and the other in 1987, before and seven years after a nation-wide expanded programme of childhood immunization (EPI) had started. The SIgA titres did not change neither with duration of lactation nor with time after vaccination in the infants of the mothers studied. The seasonal breastmilk IgA antibody titres to poliovirus type 1 corresponded to the epidemiological conditions existing both before (1980-81) and after general vaccination coverage with live, oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) had reached 80% of the infant population (1987). Neutralization titres did not seem to correlate well with ELISA titres although colostrum samples had high levels of neutralizing antibodies. The wide variation between high (greater than 10,000) and low (less than 500) individual breastmilk IgA antibody titres observed during various seasons could be of consequence for the breast-fed baby. Colostrum, which was also found to have significant neutralization capacity, might interfere with the OPV now often given on the day of birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Colostrum / chemistry
  • Colostrum / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / immunology
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis / epidemiology*
  • Poliomyelitis / immunology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / immunology
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / therapeutic use*
  • Seasons


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral