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J Med Virol. 2010 Dec;82(12):2092-6. doi: 10.1002/jmv.21920.

Longitudinal course of human metapneumovirus antibody titers and reinfection in healthy adults.

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Virus Research Center, Clinical Research Division, Sendai Medical Center, Sendai, Japan.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the frequency of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) infection in adults and to determine the association between the levels of serum antibody titers and the susceptibility to reinfection. Serum samples collected at the periodic occupational medical checkup for employees of a hospital were subjected to an ELISA test. Of the 289 subjects, 288 (99.7%) had hMPV antibody titers that were more than 1:100 in May 2006. The percentage of subjects with a titer of ≥ 3,200 was significantly higher in adults aged 40-65 years old (30.2-31.5%) compared to young adults 20-39 years old (13.6%) (P < 0.05). To investigate the longitudinal course of the hMPV antibody titer, a total of 649 serum samples collected from 59 subjects who had participated in all biannual medical checkups between 2001 and 2006 were tested. We found that ten serum pairs showed a greater than fourfold increase in hMPV antibody titers. Additionally, the 5-year reinfection rate was estimated at 16.9% (10 of 59 subjects). The baseline titer before the fourfold increase ranged from 1:100 to 1:3,200, and the titer returned to baseline levels 2 or 3 years after the fourfold increase. The antibody titer of the person with the baseline titer of 1:100 showed a greater than fourfold increase twice within a year. Sixty to 80% of adults had an ELISA titer of 1:800 to 1:1,600, suggesting that such an antibody titer is not enough to protect from hMPV infection and that reinfection could occur among adults.

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