Background: Even though measles vaccination was introduced in the Lao PDR in 1984, coverage rates remain consistently low and outbreaks continue to occur frequently. This study was performed to investigate the seroprevalence of measles and rubella antibodies in vaccinated and unvaccinated children from Central Lao PDR.
Methods: Antibody titres of 1090 children aged 8-29 months who were vaccinated at different levels of the health care system were assessed by ELISA. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were performed to identify factors affecting seropositivity against measles and rubella.
Results: Among the vaccinated children, 67.5% in Vientiane Province and 76.4% in Bolikhamxay Province were double positive/borderline for measles and rubella IgG. A high proportion of unvaccinated children at both study sites (24.4% and 38.4%) were positive/borderline for measles and/or rubella. Time since vaccination <180 days, more than two siblings, and a mother who is a farmer/labourer were negatively associated with seropositivity.
Conclusions: A high prevalence of measles and rubella antibodies was found in unvaccinated children, indicating widespread circulation of both viruses and underreporting of cases. The high proportion of vaccinated children still susceptible to measles suggests problems with vaccine immunogenicity, emphasizing the need for regular evaluations of vaccine efficacy and management.
Keywords: Child health; Immunization; Immunogenicity; Measles; Rubella; Vaccination.
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