Determining rubella immunity in pregnant Alberta women 2009-2012.
Vaccine. 2015 Jan 29 ;33(5):635-41. Epub 2014 Dec 19. PMID: 25533327
Florence Y Lai
Rubella IgG levels for 157,763 pregnant women residing in Alberta between 2009 and 2012 were analyzed. As there have been no reported cases of indigenous rubella infection in Canada since 2005, there has been a lack of naturally acquired immunity, and the current prenatal population depends almost entirely on vaccine induced immunity for protection. Rubella antibody levels are significantly lower in younger maternal cohorts with 16.8% of those born prior to universal vaccination programs (1971-1980), and 33.8% of those born after (1981-1990) having IgG levels that are not considered protective (<15 IU/mL). Analysis across pregnancies showed only 35.0% of women responded with a 4-fold increase in antibody levels following post-natal vaccination. Additionally, 41.2% of women with antibody levels<15 IU/mL had previously received 2 doses of rubella containing vaccine. These discordant interpretations generate a great deal of confusion for laboratorians and physicians alike, and result in significant patient follow-up by Public Health teams. To assess the current antibody levels in the prenatal population, latent class modeling was employed to generate a two class fit model representing women with an antibody response to rubella, and women without an antibody response. The declining level of vaccine-induced antibodies in our population is disconcerting, and a combined approach from the laboratory and Public Health may be required to provide appropriate follow up for women who are truly susceptible to rubella infection.