Seroprotection rates of vaccine-preventable diseases among newly arrived Eritrean asylum seekers in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study.

Staehelin, Cornelia; Chernet, Afona; Sydow, Véronique; Piso, Rein J; Suter, Franziska Marta; Funez, Sabine; Nickel, Beatrice; Paris, Daniel H; Labhardt, Niklaus D (2019). Seroprotection rates of vaccine-preventable diseases among newly arrived Eritrean asylum seekers in Switzerland: a cross-sectional study. Journal of travel medicine, 26(6) Oxford University Press 10.1093/jtm/taz035

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BACKGROUND According to 2016 WHO/UNICEF country estimates Eritrea has overall high vaccination coverage with immunisation rates for 3 doses of diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis and polio vaccine of 95%, for 2 doses measles vaccine of 85%, and for 3 doses Hepatitis B vaccine of 85%. If confirmed, this could imply that routine basic vaccination of newly arrived Eritreans could be safely omitted. METHODS We used stored serum samples from two cross-sectional studies that screened newly arrived Eritrean refugees for infectious diseases. Consenting refugees aged 16 years and older who registered in one of three neighbouring cantons in northwestern Switzerland were enrolled between January 2016 and December 2017. Antibody titers against the following vaccine-preventable diseases were measured (applied thresholds for seroprotection in brackets): diphtheria (> 0.1 IU/ml), tetanus (> 0.1 IU/ml), measles (> 150 mIU/ml), rubella (only for women,> 11 IU/ml), varicella (> 50 mIU/ml), hepatitis B (HbsAg Index > 0.9, antiHBc Index > 0.9 and antiHBs > 10 IE/L). Differences between sex and age groups (≤ 25 and >25 years) were measured by Fisher's exact test. RESULTS We analysed samples of 133 study participants (20 women, 15%) with a median age of 25 years (range 16-61). Rates of sero-positivity were as follow for women / men respectively: diphtheria 57.9% / 74.8% (difference non significant), tetanus 94.8% / 41.1% (p<0.001), measles 73.7% / 76.6% (non sig.), rubella in women 78.9%, varicella 89.5% / 95.3% (non sig.), anti-HBc 15.8% / 26.2% (non sig.), and anti-HBs 15.8% / 17.8% (non sig.). CONCLUSIONS Sero-prevalence for vaccine-preventable infections did not meet levels required to confer herd-immunity in any of the human-to-human transmissible diseases that were studied. In general, the strategy proposed by the Federal Office of Public Health to offer basic immunization to all newly arrived refugees, including newly arriving Eritrean refugees, is justified.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases > Infection Serology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Staehelin, Cornelia; Suter, Franziska Marta and Funez, Sabine

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1708-8305

Publisher:

Oxford University Press

Language:

English

Submitter:

Annelies Luginbühl

Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2019 14:05

Last Modified:

17 May 2020 02:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1093/jtm/taz035

PubMed ID:

31094415

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.130805

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/130805

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