Korean J Infect Dis.  1998 Jun;30(3):278-283.

Serological Immunity to Diphtheria among Korean Population

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Microbiology, National Institute of Health.
  • 2Biologicals Evaluation Department, Food and Drug Administration.
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine.
  • 4Communiable Disease Control Division, Ministry of Health & Welfare.
  • 5Seoul National University School of Public Health, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Diphtheria epidemics in Russia have spread to all the other independent states of the former Soviet Union and East European countries around 1990s. One of the most important measures in preventing diphtheria is to maintain high levels of immunity in the population. We studied the diphtheria antibody levels of 1,086 participants to investigate herd immunity in Korea.
METHODS
The tested 1,086 serum specimens were collected from healthy individuals from September 1995 to March 1996. Diphtheria antitoxin titers were measured by a micro cell culture method using Vero cells. Antibody titer of 0.01 IU/ml to neutralize diphtheria toxin is an internationally accepted protective level.
RESULTS
We studied the diphtheria antitoxin titer levels of 1,086 cases consisting of 579 males and 507 females. The proportion of protective antitoxin level to diphtheria is 69.2%. Diphtheria antitoxin levels showed no significant difference between males and females. The highest seropositive rate was observed in the 5 to 9-year old age group(95.8%). The seropositivity rate declined with age. The lowest seropositive rate was observed in the 20~39 years of age, maximally 43.4 %. Over 40 years of age, the seropositive rates increased again.
CONCLUSION
The antibody titers in the Korean population declined from 95.8% to below 50% with age in the 1~39 year-old age group. To maintain the rate of population with protective antibodies to diphtheria, we recommend Td booster immunization to adults with low antitoxin titers and continuous survey for antitoxin titers.

Keyword

Diphtheria; Immunity; Antitoxin titer

MeSH Terms

Adult
Antibodies
Cell Culture Techniques
Child
Diphtheria Antitoxin
Diphtheria Toxin
Diphtheria*
Female
Humans
Immunity, Herd
Immunization, Secondary
Korea
Male
Russia
USSR
Vero Cells
Antibodies
Diphtheria Antitoxin
Diphtheria Toxin
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