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Int J Epidemiol. 2000 Apr;29(2):362-8.

Ten years of serological surveillance in England and Wales: methods, results, implications and action.

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Immunisation Division, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, London, UK.



The first age-stratified serological survey of antibody to measles, mumps and rubella in the UK was conducted in 1986/87 prior to the introduction of MMR vaccine into the immunization programme. Serum collection and testing have continued annually, allowing trends over time to be monitored. These sera have also been available for ad hoc surveys of other infections.


Residual sera are collected in participating laboratories and sent to a central store where they are irrevocably unlinked from identifying data. A unique identity number is assigned to each serum and details of age and sex are collated on a database. The sera are accessed for testing as required.


The results of recurring and other surveys performed over the last ten years are presented. These demonstrate that opportunistic serum samples are an ideal resource for serological surveillance programmes.


The serological surveillance programme has provided past exposure profiles for many infections. These data have resulted in a number of national policy changes and have been instrumental in shaping the UK vaccination programme.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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