Measles antibody prevalence rates among young adults in Israel
In Israel, vaccination coverage against measles is high, yet seroepidemiologic studies have shown that more than 15% of the 18-year-old population were unprotected against the disease. A 2-dose program of vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella at the ages of 1 and 6 years was begun in 1990, supplemented by a measles catch-up plan for all 13-year-olds. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of antimeasles antibodies at induction to the Israel Defense Forces in the first doubly vaccinated birth-cohort.
In 1996, serum samples of 540 recruits, 339 men and 201 women, were tested for measles virus antibody. Findings were compared with surveys conducted in 1987 and 1990.
Measles antibodies were present in 95.6% (95% CI, 93.5-97.1) of the recruits. Antibody prevalence was higher in women than in men (99% vs 93.5%; P =.0096). A slightly lower seroprevalence was found in recruits born in the former Soviet Union. The results were substantially higher than the seroprevalence rates found in 1987 (73.3%) and 1990 (84.6%).
The high prevalence of antimeasles antibodies in the young adult population in Israel points to the success of the double-vaccination policy in promoting immunity against the disease.
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