Levels of rubella antibody among vaccinated and unvaccinated Portuguese mothers and their newborns.

Research paper by Guilherme G Gonçalves, Maria São José MS Nascimento, Cristina C Réu, Felicity T FT Cutts

Indexed on: 08 Aug '06Published on: 08 Aug '06Published in: Vaccine


Maternal and cord sera (231 pairs) were tested to measure rubella IgG levels, using a commercial immunoassay method with final fluorescent detection (ELFA). One hundred and twenty-two women had been vaccinated against rubella. Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) were not associated with time since vaccination. GMC of rubella IgG among vaccinated and unvaccinated mothers were respectively 66.6 and 80.9IU/ml (p=0.29). The corresponding values for cord sera GMC were 140.6 and 140.2IU/ml (p=0.99). These GMC values seem to have been influenced by increased transplacental transport efficiency (TTE) among vaccinated mothers. This was observed if TTE was measured as difference or ratio of cord-maternal concentration of rubella IgG, but was only statistically significantly (p=0.02) for ratio. TTE also seemed to be higher when antibody levels in mothers were below <15IU/ml. There seemed to be some interaction between susceptibility and vaccination status, but these results should be seen with caution. We do not know of a proven biological reason to support differential TTE in vaccinated and unvaccinated mothers. The sensitivity of the lab assay might have influenced the results, such that very low antibody levels in some vaccinated mothers were underestimates of true concentrations. Our finding that 38 mothers had antibody levels considered to be below the threshold for protection highlights the importance of implementing policies to vaccinate susceptible women of childbearing age.