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Seroprevalence of polio antibodies in adult laboratory staff in South Africa, 2009 to 2013

Shelina Moonsamy, Melinda Suchard
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 31, No 2 | a91 | | © 2019 Shelina Moonsamy, Melinda Suchard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 May 2019 | Published: 01 July 2016

About the author(s)

Shelina Moonsamy, Centre for Vaccines and Immunology, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Melinda Suchard, Centre for Vaccines and Immunology, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa; Molecular Medicine and Haematology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Abstract

The global eradication of polio has been a World Health Organization goal since May 1988 with the current target for global eradication set at 2018. A keystone of the eradication initiative is achieving and maintaining high immunisation coverage, producing high population immunity. Assessing infant vaccination coverage does not give a reliable indication of adult immunity levels as antibody titres decline with age. A requirement of the occupational health programme at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases is to test newly appointed personnel for immunity to polio. During the period 2009 to 2013, 352 sera were collected and tested by means of antibody neutralisation assays to determine immunity to all three polio serotypes. The objective of this study was to assess immunity to polio in personnel employed at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases as a proxy for the general adult South African population. The seroprevalence to polio serotypes 1, 2 and 3 were 85.5, 90.0 and 74.0%, respectively. Of the 352 samples tested, 2.3% were sero-negative for all three serotypes and 36.0% were sero-negative to at least one of the serotypes. The seroprevalence to polio serotype 3 falls below the target of 80.0%, and could pose a potential risk following importation or development of vaccine derived poliovirus type 3.

Keywords

adult; Africa; antibodies; eradication; herd; immunity; immunization; occupational; polio; poliomyelitis; sero-immunity; seroprevalence; South Africa; vaccine-derived

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