The Pediatric infectious disease journal 2016 11 22()
Measles and congenital rubella syndrome remain significant causes of morbidity and mortality despite available vaccines. HIV-infected youth may be at increased risk of measles because of greater waning immunity following vaccination. At a population level, they constitute a potentially large pool of susceptibles to measles and rubella. More data among HIV-infected youth in sub-Saharan Africa are needed to guide vaccination policy and control strategies.
This cross-sectional study was nested within two ongoing studies of malaria and HIV in Zambia. Dried blood spot cards from youth (5-15 years) in these studies from 2009-2013 were tested for IgG antibodies to measles and rubella viruses. HIV-uninfected youth, HIV-infected treatment-naïve youth, and HIV-infected youth receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) were compared.
617 HIV-uninfected, 144 HIV-infected treatment-naïve, and 128 HIV-infected youth receiving ART were included in the study. The proportion seropositive for measles virus was significantly higher among HIV-uninfected youth (92.5%) compared to HIV-infected treatment-naïve youth (74.1%) and HIV-infected youth receiving ART (71.9%). No differences by age were observed. The proportion seropositive for rubella virus was significantly higher among HIV-uninfected youth (54.7%) compared with HIV-infected treatment-naïve youth (41.7%) and HIV-infected youth receiving ART (49.6%), with increases observed by age for all groups.
Measles seroprevalence was lower among HIV-infected than uninfected youth, consistent with waning immunity following measles vaccination. HIV-infected youth would likely benefit from revaccination. Half of all youth in rural Zambia were susceptible to rubella and may need targeting for catch-up rubella campaigns when measles-rubella vaccine is introduced.