Seroprevalence of antibodies against varicella among medical students - a need for immunization record for medical school admission
Keywords:Risk of infection, medical students in the clinical year of study, protective antibodies, booster vaccination, immunization status criteria for medical school admission
Introduction and Aim:This study was conducted at a medical University in UAE to assess the risk of acquiring Varicella – a vaccine-preventable disease, by estimating antibody titers among the clinically exposed students to provide a scientific implementation of immunization guideline during admission to medical school.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 88 students in clinical years attending a medical college in the UAE. The students' demographics, vaccination data, and history of natural infection with vaccine-preventable communicable infectious diseases were collected, with more significance on Varicella. Blood samples were collected to determine varicella IgG via ELISA.
Results:Out of 88 medical students, 20.45% of students had vaccination during childhood and 60.22%of students had a natural infection in the last five years. Three students (3.4%), who had childhood vaccination acquired the infection which is statistically significant during their clinical study years. 70.4% of students who had childhood vaccination and natural infection are at risk of acquiring varicella infections due to the waning of antibodies. 13.64% were found to be negative for varicella antibody titers are at the highest risk.
Conclusion:Medical students are most susceptible to acquiring the infection. Medical Universities should take up a policy, that each student needs to take booster vaccinations as a mandatory requirement before admission into the first year, which is practiced as an admission protocol in Western countries like the United States of America but not in Asian countries. Special emphasis should be placed on catch-up vaccination of students because the likelihood of severe infection increases with age.
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