Lack of immunity against rubella among Italian young adults

Tuesday, 4th of April 2017 Print

Lack of immunity against rubella among Italian young adults

  • Gallone Maria Serena1Email author
  • Gallone Maria Filomena1
  • Larocca Angela Maria Vittoria2
  • Germinario Cinzia1 and
  • Tafuri Silvio1

BMC Infectious Diseases BMC series – open inclusive and trusted201717:199



To support the evaluation of the 2010-15 National Plan for Measles and Congenital Rubella Elimination the authors designed and performed a serosurveillance survey to verify the immunity/susceptibility rate against rubella among Apulian young adults.


The study was carried out from May 2011 to June 2012 in the Department of Transfusion Medicine/Blood Bank of Policlinico General Hospital in Bari. Subjects were enrolled by a convenience sampling. For each enrolled patient a 5 ml serum sample was collected and tested for anti-rubella IgG. The geometrical means (GMT) of anti-rubella IgG was calculated. T student test or ANOVA test when appropriate was used to compare the means of age per gender and GMT of anti-rubella IgG titres per age classes. Chi-square test was used to compare the proportion of anti-rubella IgG positive subjects per gender and per age classes. For all tests a p value <0.05 was considered as significant.


At the end of the study 1764 subjects were enrolled 1362 (77.2%) of which were male. The mean age was 38.4 ± 11.7 years (range: 17-65). 86.7% (95% CI = 85.0-88.2) had a positive titre of anti-rubella IgG. GMT of anti-rubella IgG titre was 4.3.

The proportion of positive subjects was of 76.8% (n = 279/363; 95% CI = 72.2-81.1) in persons aged 18-26 years; 88.1% (n = 310/352; 95% CI = 84.2-91.3) in 27-35 year-old people; 88.5% (n = 464/524; 95% CI = 85.5-91.1) in 36-45 year-old people; 90.7% (n = 350/386; 95% CI = 87.3-93.4) among people aged 46-55 years and 90.6% (n = 126/139; 95% CI = 84.5-94.9) in 55-65 year-old people (Chi-square = 39.7; p < 0.0001). GMT of anti-rubella IgG titre was 4.3 (4.3 in male and 4.2 in female t = 2.2; p = 0.03) and seems to differ dividing the enrolled subjects by age group (F = 14.3; p < 0.0001).


According to our data too many women of child-bearing age are still unprotected from rubella in the elimination era and in this scenario the public health efforts should be oriented to catch-up activities


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