2019-09-19Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.25646/6382
Long-term immunity against yellow fever in children vaccinated during infancy: a longitudinal cohort study
Ansah, Patrick O.
Sow, Samba O.
Mejia, José E.
Background: A single dose of vaccine against yellow fever is routinely administered to infants aged 9–12 months under the Expanded Programme on Immunization, but the long-term outcome of vaccination in this age group is unknown. We aimed to evaluate the long-term persistence of neutralising antibodies to yellow fever virus following routine vaccination in infancy. Methods: We did a longitudinal cohort study, using a microneutralisation assay to measure protective antibodies against yellow fever in Malian and Ghanaian children vaccinated around age 9 months and followed up for 4·5 years (Mali), or 2·3 and 6·0 years (Ghana). Healthy children with available day-0 sera, a complete follow-up history, and no record of yellow fever revaccination were included; children seropositive for yellow fever at baseline were excluded. We standardised antibody concentrations with reference to the yellow fever WHO International Standard. Findings: We included 587 Malian and 436 Ghanaian children vaccinated between June 5, 2009, and Dec 26, 2012. In the Malian group, 296 (50·4%, 95% CI 46·4–54·5) were seropositive (antibody concentration ≥0·5 IU/mL) 4·5 years after vaccination. Among the Ghanaian children, 121 (27·8%, 23·5–32·0) were seropositive after 2·3 years. These results show a large decrease from the proportions of seropositive infants 28 days after vaccination, 96·7% in Mali and 72·7% in Ghana, reported by a previous study of both study populations. The number of seropositive children increased to 188 (43·1%, 95% CI 38·5–47·8) in the Ghanaian group 6·0 years after vaccination, but this result might be confounded by unrecorded revaccination or natural infection with wild yellow fever virus during a 2011–12 outbreak in northern Ghana. Interpretation: Rapid waning of immunity during the early years after vaccination of 9-month-old infants argues for a revision of the single-dose recommendation for this target population in endemic countries. The short duration of immunity in many vaccinees suggests that booster vaccination is necessary to meet the 80% population immunity threshold for prevention of yellow fever outbreaks.
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