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Vaccine-modified measles in previously immunized children in Accra, Ghana: clinical, virological and serological parameters

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Despite rapidly increasing measles immunization coverage, epidemics of measles occurred from January to March 2000 in some parts of Accra, the capital of Ghana. 44 cases of acute measles were diagnosed at three health facilities during the outbreaks, which we examined clinically and serologically. The peak incidence occurred among 6–12-year-olds, clinical symptoms were milder than the typical symptoms of measles, and fever was significantly less common. None of the cases developed complications and all recovered completely. Thirty-eight (86.4%) were tested serologically; IgM antibodies were detected in 73.7% and IgG antibodies in 84.2% during the acute phase. Milder symptoms in a significant number of cases with measles IgG antibodies suggest that these are vaccine-modified measles, attributable to waning antibodies and low circulation of wild type virus in an area of high vaccine coverage. Serological confirmation will be required for accurate diagnosis, if measles is to be eradicated or kept under control. It also seems likely that multiple dose immunization schedules will be needed in the future to maintain protective antibody levels and to protect children against measles in Ghana. This will eliminate the frequent outbreaks of measles involving immunized children.

Keywords: measles; measles virus-specific IgG and IgM; vaccine-modified

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Paediatrics, Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba, Japan 2: Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana 3: Mie National Hospital, Mie, Japan

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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