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Occup Med (Lond). 2003 Sep;53(6):398-402.

Prevalence of measles susceptibility among health care workers in a UK hospital. Does the UK need to introduce a measles policy for its health care workers?

Author information

  • 1Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK. emma.ziegler@suht.swest.nhs.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

First, to determine the prevalence of measles non-immunity in a group of health care workers (HCW), and secondly, to investigate what pre-employment screening for measles is carried out by NHS occupational health departments.

METHODS:

Two hundred and eighteen HCWs with patient contact on the medical wards at Addenbrooke's hospital provided an oral fluid sample and answered a questionnaire. A postal survey of Association of National Health Occupational Physicians Society (ANHOPS) members was conducted to assess whether UK NHS Trusts identify measles non-immune individuals.

RESULTS:

Of the HCWs tested, 3.3% of were found to be non-immune to measles (both oral fluid and confirmatory serum sample were measles IgG negative). Less than one third of a sample of 80 NHS occupational health departments enquired about measles immunity.

CONCLUSION:

The prevalence of measles non-immune health care workers is low, but with a fall in uptake of MMR immunization and increased likelihood of measles outbreaks, it is important to identify these at-risk individuals. Serum testing is the most reliable method to use. Oral fluid testing and history of measles disease or vaccination are unreliable methods of identifying non-immune individuals. To achieve complete immunity, it is cost-effective to screen and then offer immunization. NHS trusts vary greatly in their measles policies for health care workers.

PMID:
14514907
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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