Outbreak of Measles Among Persons With Prior Evidence of Immunity, New York City, 2011

Background.  Measles was eliminated in the United States through high vaccination coverage and a public health system able to rapidly respond to measles. Measles may occur among vaccinated individuals, but secondary transmission from such individuals has not been documented.

Methods.  Suspected cases and contacts exposed during a measles outbreak in New York City in 2011 were investigated. Medical histories and immunization records were obtained. Cases were confirmed by detection of measles-specific IgM and/or RNA. Tests for measles IgG, IgG avidity, measurement of measles neutralizing antibody titers, and genotyping were performed to characterize the cases.

Results. The index case had two doses of measles-containing vaccine. Of 88 contacts, four secondary cases were confirmed that had either two doses of measles-containing vaccine or a past positive measles IgG antibody. All cases had laboratory confirmation of measles infection, clinical symptoms consistent with measles, and high avidity IgG antibody characteristic of a secondary immune response. Neutralizing antibody titers of secondary cases reached >80,000 mIU/mL 3-4 days post-rash onset while that of the index was <500 mIU/mL 9 days post-rash onset. No additional cases occurred among 231 contacts of secondary cases.

Conclusions.  This is the first report of measles transmission from a twice vaccinated individual. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index were typical of measles in a naïve individual. Secondary cases had robust anamnestic antibody responses. No tertiary cases occurred despite numerous contacts. This outbreak underscores the need for thorough epidemiologic and laboratory investigation of suspected measles cases regardless of vaccination status.
Source: Clin Infect Dis. (2014) doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu105

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