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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Infectious Diseases
Title Measles seroprevalence, outbreaks, and vaccine coverage in Rwanda
Volume 48
Issue 11-12
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 800-807
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ref/10.1080/23744235.2016.1201720?scroll=top
Background: Measles outbreaks are reported after insufficient vaccine coverage, especially in countries recovering from natural disaster or conflict. We compared seroprevalence to measles in blood donors in Rwanda and Sweden and explored distribution of active cases of measles and vaccine coverage in Rwanda.

Methods: 516 Rwandan and 215 Swedish blood donors were assayed for measles-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Data on vaccine coverage and acute cases in Rwanda from 1980 to 2014 were collected, and IgM on serum samples and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on nasopharyngeal (NPH) swabs from suspected measles cases during 2010–2011 were analysed.

Results: The seroprevalence of measles IgG was significantly higher in Swedish blood donors (92.6%; 95% CI: 89.1–96.1%) compared to Rwandan subjects (71.5%; 95% CI: 67.6–75.4%) and more pronounced <35 years of age. The OD values were significantly lower in the Rwandan blood donors as compared to Swedish subjects (p < 0.00001). However, effective measles vaccine coverage was concomitant with decrease in measles cases in Rwanda, with the exception of an outbreak in 1995 following the 1994 genocide. 76/544 serum samples were IgM positive and 21/31 NPH swabs were PCR positive for measles, determined by sequencing to be of genotype B3.

Conclusions: Measles seroprevalence was lower in Rwandan blood donors compared to Swedish subjects. Despite this, the number of reported measles cases in Rwanda rapidly decreased during the study period, concomitant with increased vaccine coverage. Taken together, the circulation of measles was limited in Rwanda and vaccine coverage was favourable, but seroprevalence and IgG levels were low especially in younger age groups.

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