Seroprevalence of measles, rubella, and mumps antibodies in Catalonia, Spain: results of a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Determination of antibody levels against vaccine-preventable diseases is of great value to assess immunization programmes. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of measles, rubella, and mumps antibodies in representative samples of the child and adult population of Catalonia and compare the findings to those obtained in 1996. A representative sample of the child and adult (≥15 years) population of Catalonia was studied. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay techniques were used to determine the presence of antibodies. Equivocal results for antibodies against measles and rubella were tested using an immunofluorescence technique. To compare proportions, the chi-square test and the Fisher's exact test were used. Statistical significance was set at 0.05. Adjusted odds ratios were calculated using multiple logistic regression analysis. Samples from 2,619 people were analyzed. The global prevalence of antibodies was 98.3% for measles, 91.1% for mumps, and 98.1% for rubella. The prevalence of rubella antibodies was higher in women than in men (98.8 vs. 97.2%, respectively). Compared with the results obtained in the 1996 seroprevalence study, only the prevalence of rubella antibodies showed a statistically significant increase in men (97.2 vs. 94.6%; p=0.002) and, in particular, in women (98.8 vs. 95.3%; p<0.001). The low prevalence of susceptible subjects has already led to the elimination of indigenous measles in Catalonia and should allow the elimination of indigenous rubella by 2005. The level of antibodies necessary to interrupt the transmission of mumps has still not been reached in all age groups.

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