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To determine whether self-reported history of disease and/or vaccination is predictive of immunity against hepatitis B, varicella, rubella, mumps, and measles.
The seroprevalence of viral antibodies and the predictive value of a self-report questionnaire were determined for 616 paramedical students who matriculated into Padua Medical School (Padua, Italy) during 2003-2005.
The majority of subjects (86.9%) remembered being vaccinated against hepatitis B but had no recollection of disease. Among vaccinees, 1.5% showed markers of previous infection, 6.7% tested negative for anti-hepatitis B virus surface antigen (anti-HBsAg) antibodies, and 91.8% tested positive for anti-HBsAg. Self-reported vaccination history had a positive predictive value of 93.2% for test results positive for immunity against hepatitis B. Immunity against varicella (93.7% of subjects) and rubella (95.5%) was high, compared with immunity against mumps (79.9%) and measles (83.1%). In addition, results of tests for detection of immunity against mumps and measles were equivocal for more than 7% of subjects, probably because their vaccination regimen was not completed. Self-reported histories of varicella disease and rubella disease and vaccination had high positive predictive values (greater than 98% each) for testing positive for antiviral antibodies, compared with self-reported histories of mumps disease and vaccination and measles disease and vaccination; however, high positive predictive values were observed for self-reported histories of mumps only (92.0%) and measles only (94.7%).
The self-report questionnaire used in this study did not accurately predict immunity against 5 transmittable but vaccine-preventable diseases. A complete serological evaluation of healthcare workers, followed by vaccination of those with negative or equivocal results of serological tests, is an appropriate measure to decrease the risk of infection in this population.
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