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Antibodies to tetanus toxoid in women of childbearing age in Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo, Tanzania

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Our aim was to determine tetanus immunity in women of childbearing age (15–44 years) with histories and/or documentation of having been vaccinated with Tetanus Toxoid (TT) under the Expanded Programme on Immunization in Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Using an ELISA technique, serum levels of TT antibody, antibody avidity and distribution of TT IgG subclass antibodies were determined in 207 apparently healthy women. A TT antibody level of 0.1 IU/ml was considered protective. 99% and 100% of women in Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo, respectively, had a TT antibody level ≥0.1 IU/ml. Anti-toxin binding avidity was found to be high in most of the women. In addition to TT IgG3 subclass antibody, TT IgG1 subclass antibody was the most dominant subclass type. A substantial number of women also had TT IgG2 and TT IgG4 subclass antibody responses. A better recording system on TT immunization is recommended to avoid hyper-immunization of women and to optimize the cost-effectiveness of the immunization programme.

Keywords: antibody avidity; avidity index; immunization; neonatal tetanus; tetanus toxoid; vaccination

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 2: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The Gade Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Publication date: 2001-02-01

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