The risk of measles, mumps, and varicella among young adults: a serosurvey of US Navy and Marine Corps recruits.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the risk of epidemic transmission and to guide immunization policy, the seroprevalence of antibody to measles, mumps, and varicella was determined in a group of young adults. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 1533 US Navy and Marine Corps recruits was conducted in June 1989. Antibody status was determined with commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. RESULTS: Direct sex and race adjustment to the 15- to 29-year-old US population resulted in seronegativity rates of 17.8% for measles, 12.3% for mumps, and 6.7% for varicella. Measles and mumps seronegativity rates were higher among Whites whereas varicella seronegativity was higher among non-Whites. Recruits enlisting from outside the 50 US states, especially those from island territories, were more likely to lack varicella antibody. The sensitivity of a positive history of vaccination or disease in predicting antibody status was less than 90% for all diseases. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a continued potential for epidemics, especially of measles, and the need for mandatory immunization policies. Immigrants to the United States, especially those from island territories, may be a high-risk group that could benefit from varicella vaccination.
Struewing, JP; Hyams, KC; Tueller, JE; Gray, GC
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