Are measles, mumps and rubella a public health issue in young adults? Results from a seroprevalence survey in university students in Italy

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Langiano, Elisa; Ferrara, Maria; La Torre, Giuseppe; Lanni, Liana; Atrei, Patrizia; Martellucci, Giuseppe; Vito, Elisabetta de

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Abstract Aims: A survey was conducted amongst university students to assess their level of susceptibility to and knowledge about measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and their prevention, and to find factors associated to their seropositivity for MMR viruses. Subjects, and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 961 students from the University of Cassino (Italy). The enzyme immunoassay method was used to assess seropositivity for MMR, while knowledge and previous vaccination information were acquired through a self-administered questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of IgG antibodies was 93.2% for measles, 91.4% for mumps and 81.3% for rubella. The susceptibility for measles was higher in the 21–25 and over 31 age groups. The seroprevalence profile of mumps was similar to that of measles, while the level of immunity to rubella was very low in students aged under 20 years (76.7%) and 21–25 years (81.2%). Only 111 students said they had been vaccinated against measles, 46 against mumps and 103 against rubella. Most students demonstrated poor knowledge concerning MMR and were not practicing preventive behaviours. Conclusions: The susceptibility was particularly high for rubella. Concerted efforts are needed to educate young adults about the benefits of vaccination and to raise their level of consciousness so as to motivate them to request vaccination.
Classification Medicine, Social Medicine
Free Keywords University students; Italy; Immunization; Measles; Mumps; Rubella
Document language English
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 443-451
Journal Journal of Public Health, 18 (2010) 5
Status Postprint; reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)