Diphtheria antitoxin levels in US blood and plasma donors

J Infect Dis. 1996 Jun;173(6):1493-7. doi: 10.1093/infdis/173.6.1493.


Plasma samples from 500 blood donors were titrated for diphtheria antitoxin (DAT) by the toxin neutralization (TN) test. Only 1.6% of donors had <0.01 IU/mL DAT, the minimum protective level against diphtheria; 15% had levels between 0.01 and <0.1 IU/mL, indicating basic protection, and 83.4% had levels > or =0.1 IU, indicating full protection. Three hundred fifty samples were studied by ELISA for diphtheria toxoid IgG antibodies to assess the utility of the assay as a quick, convenient method for evaluating diphtheria immunity. Although the correlation between TN and ELISA titers for the 350 samples was high (r = .80), there was no correlation (r = .07) for samples with antitoxin titers <0.1 IU/mL, the level of special interest for serosurveys for protection. Titration of 62 immune globulin samples (prepared from 1957 to 1994) showed that DAT levels in Massachusetts blood donors increased concurrently with increased use of tetanus-diphtheria vaccine in the state.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Donors*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Diphtheria Antitoxin / blood*
  • Diphtheria Toxoid / blood
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Neutralization Tests / methods
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • United States
  • Vero Cells


  • Diphtheria Antitoxin
  • Diphtheria Toxoid
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Tetanus Toxoid