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J Infect Dis. 2020 Feb 18;221(5):721-728. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz508.

Long-term Immunogenicity of Measles Vaccine: An Italian Retrospective Cohort Study.

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Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, Aldo Moro University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
Hygiene Department, Bari Policlinico General Hospital, Bari, Italy.



Levels of antibodies induced by the measles virus-containing vaccine have been shown to decline over time, but there is no formal recommendation about testing immunized subjects (in particular, healthcare workers [HCWs]) to investigate the persistence of measles immunoglobulin G (IgG).


This study aims to evaluate the long-term immunogenicity of measles vaccine in a sample of medical students and residents of the University of Bari who attended the Hygiene Department for a biological risk assessment (April 2014-June 2018).


Two thousand immunized (2 doses of measles-mumps-rubella [MMR] vaccine) students and residents were tested; 305 of these (15%) did not show protective anti-measles IgG. This proportion was higher among subjects who received vaccination at ≤15 months (20%) than in those who received vaccination at 16-23 months (17%) and at ≥24 months (10%) (P < .0001). After an MMR vaccine booster dose, we noted a seroconversion of 74% of seronegative HCWs. The overall seroconversion rate after a second dose (booster) was 93%. No serious adverse events were noted after the booster doses.


An important proportion of subjects immunized for measles do not show a protective IgG titer in the 10 years after vaccination. Our management strategy seems consistent with the purpose of evidencing immunological memory.


healthcare workers; booster dose; duration of immunization


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