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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

On-line version ISSN 1414-431X

Abstract

WECKX, L.Y. et al. Effect of a single tetanus-diphtheria vaccine dose on the immunity of elderly people in São Paulo, Brazil. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2006, vol.39, n.4, pp. 519-523. ISSN 1414-431X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-879X2006000400012.

Epidemiological data regarding tetanus and diphtheria immunity in elderly people in Brazil are scarce. During the First National Immunization Campaign for the Elderly in Brazil in April 1999, 98 individuals (median age: 84 years) received one tetanus-dyphtheria (Td) vaccine dose (Butantan Institute, lot number 9808079/G). Inclusion criteria were elderly individuals without a history of severe immunosuppressive disease, acute infectious disease or use of immunomodulators. Blood samples were collected immediately before the vaccine and 30 days later. Serum was separated and stored at -20oC until analysis. Tetanus and diphtheria antibodies were measured by the double-antigen ELISA test. Tetanus and diphtheria antibody concentrations lower than 0.01 IU/mL were considered to indicate the absence of protection, between 0.01 and 0.09 IU/mL were considered to indicate basic immunity, and values of 0.1 IU/mL or higher were considered to indicate full protection. Before vaccination, 18% of the individuals were susceptible to diphtheria and 94% were susceptible to tetanus. After one Td dose, 78% became fully immune to diphtheria, 13% attained basic immunity, and 9% were still susceptible to the disease. In contrast, 79% remained susceptible to tetanus, 4% had basic immunity and 17% were fully immune. Although one Td dose increases immunity to diphtheria in many elderly people who live in Brazil, a complete vaccination series appears to be necessary for the prevention of tetanus.

Keywords : Elderly; Tetanus; Diphtheria; Immunization.

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