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Commun Dis Intell Q Rep. 2001 Aug;25(3):133-6.

Measles immunity in young Australian adults.

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National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Westmead, New South Wales.


Previous state-based serosurveys and recent outbreaks have indicated that young adults may be at risk of measles. To provide a national picture of immunity in adults, we tested 2126 sera from 19-49 year olds that had been opportunistically collected from laboratories across Australia, between July 1996 and November 1998. Sera were stratified into age groups based on expected levels of immunity. Sample numbers were proportional to the population size in each State and Territory. Immunity was determined using an anti-measles IgG enzyme immunoassay (EIA) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Results were compared with those on sera from 2 groups of 1-18 year olds; one group collected before the Measles Control Campaign (conducted in the second half of 1998) and the other group collected after the Campaign. Immunity was highest (98.3%) in subjects aged at least 30 years (born before 1968) reflecting greater exposure to the measles virus in these older subjects. Immunity was lowest in those aged 1-6 years (born in 1994-8; 83.6%) and 18-22 years (born in 1974-80; 88.9%). The relatively low level of immunity in 18-22 year olds is probably due to lower vaccination coverage in this group compared with younger cohorts (aged 6-17 years). These results indicate the ongoing need to improve vaccine uptake in infants and suggest that a vaccination campaign targeting young adults would be beneficial.

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