Persistence of maternal antibody in infants beyond 12 months: mechanism of measles vaccine failure

J Pediatr. 1977 Nov;91(5):715-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(77)81021-4.


A serologic study was made in 34 children immunized against measles at the age of 12 months. Using a sensitive virus neutralization test, it was found that many of the children had pre-existing maternal antibody to measles virus. Children with high pre-existing antibody titers failed to seroconvert. Children with lower pre-existing antibody titers seroconverted, but the resulting antibody titer was significantly lower than in children without pre-existing antibody titer. The results of this study demonstrate a probably mechanism for measles vaccine failure in 12-month-old children and support the recommendation of the Public Health Service Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to postpone measles vaccination to 15 months of age.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Antibodies, Viral* / analysis
  • Female
  • Hemagglutination Inhibition Tests
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Measles / immunology*
  • Measles Vaccine*
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Pregnancy


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Measles Vaccine