Seroprotection against tetanus in southern Vietnam.
Thwaites CL., Thanh TT., Ny NTH., Nguyet LA., Nhat NTD., Thuy CT., Thanh NTL., Dung NT., OUCRU Sero-surveillance Network None., Campbell J., Thai PQ., Tan LV., Choisy M., Boni MF.
BACKGROUND: Ongoing tetanus cases and sporadic outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases associated with routine vaccination programmes remain problems in many low and middle-income countries, including Vietnam. With no human-to-human transmission or natural immunity, tetanus antibody levels indicate both individual risk of tetanus and gaps in vaccination programmes. METHODS: To investigate gaps in immunity to tetanus in Vietnam, a country with a historically high level of tetanus vaccination coverage, tetanus antibodies were measure by ELISA from samples selected from a long-term serum bank, established for the purposes of general-population seroepidemiological investigations in southern Vietnam. Samples were selected from 10 provinces, focussing on age-groups targeted by national vaccination programmes for infants and pregnant women (Expanded Programme on Immunization, EPI, and Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus, MNT). RESULTS: Antibodies were measured from a total of 3864 samples. Highest tetanus antibody concentrations occurred in children under 4 years old, over 90 % of whom had protective levels. Approximately 70 % of children aged 7-12 years had protective antibody concentrations although there was variation among provinces. For infants and children, there were no significant differences in tetanus protection between males and females, but for adults aged 20-35 years, in five of the ten provinces surveyed, protection against tetanus was higher in females (p