Prevalence of antibodies against measles among pediatricians in a teaching hospital

OBJECTIVE: A measles outbreak occurred in S. Paulo state, during 1996 and 1997, resulting in 20,921 cases. Forty seven percent of the cases occurred in people between 20 and 29 years of age, and one of the control strategies of the Department of Health was the vaccination of health care workers. The prevalence of antibodies against measles among the hospital pediatricians was investigated. METHODS: One hundred and fifty samples were taken from voluntee pediatricians to test for measles antibodies using ELISA. A questionnaire about their having had measles and the vaccine was filled out. RESULTS: Of the 150 doctors, 122 (81.4%) were female and 28 (18.6%) male, of between 23 and 46 years of age (mean and median 27 years). The majority (98%-147/150) had protective levels of antibodies against measles (>100 UI/ml); 118 (80.3%-118/147) without and 29 (19.7%-29/147) with a history of measles. Only 3 pediatricians (2%-3/150), had negative serology, 2 without and 1 with a history of measles. Out of the 118 without history of measles, 79 (67%-39/118) in spite of the protective level of antibodies against measles, did not know if they, had been vaccinated. Out of the 79 vaccinated pediatricians, 64 (81%-64/79), had been vaccinated 25 years before, and still maintained protective levels of antibodies. Of the 3 doctors with negative sorologies only one declared that he had been vaccinated. CONCLUSIONS: Measles seroprevalence among pediatricians of this hospital is high, especially due to preceeding vaccination. On the other hand, the 2% of pediatricians with negative sorology, in an epidemic situation could constitute a significant population for the acquisition and dissemination of the disease.

Measles; Seroepidemiologic studies; Physicians

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