Seroepidemiology of measles in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: implications for control through vaccination

Enquselassie F, Ayele W, Dejene A, Messele T, Abebe A, Cutts FT, Nokes DJ
Epidemiol Infect. 2003;130

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We undertook a representative survey of measles antibodies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1994, to characterize immunity and transmission. Specific-antibody levels (IU/l) were determined by ELISA for 4654 sera from individuals aged 0-49 years (1805 < 15 years) collected by stratified household-cluster sampling. The proportion seronegative (< 100 IU/l) was 20% (95% CI: 16-25) in children 9-59 months old, declining to 9% (7-12) in 5-9 year olds, 5% (4-7) in 10-14 year olds, and < 1% in adults. The proportion of children (< 15 years old) with low-level antibody (100-255 IU/l) was 8% (7-10). Vaccination and an absence of a history of measles illness were strongly associated with low-level antibody. History of measles vaccination in 9 months to 14-year-old children was approximately 80%. We estimate a primary vaccine failure rate of 21% (12-34) and continued high measles incidence of 22 per 100 susceptibles (19-24) per annum. Our data support the introduction of campaign vaccination in the city in 1998, although higher routine vaccine coverage is required to sustain the impact. The implications of a high prevalence of low-level antibody are discussed.