Seroprevalence and durability of rubella virus antibodies in a highly immunized population

Stephen N. Crooke, Iana H. Haralambieva, Diane E. Grill, Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Richard B. Kennedy, Gregory A. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Although the administration of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has been widespread in the United States for decades, gaps in vaccine coverage still persist for various reasons. The maintenance of herd immunity against rubella virus (RV) is important to controlling the spread and resurgence of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome. Methods: In this study, we sought to assess the seroprevalence of RV-specific antibodies in an adult population from a defined geographic area in Olmsted County, MN, and the surrounding municipalities, with relatively high vaccine coverage and no documented evidence of circulating RV in the past 24 years. Rubella-specific IgG antibodies were measured by ELISA in a large set of serum samples (n = 1393) obtained from the Mayo Clinic Biobank. This cohort was 80.2% female and ranged from 20 to 44 years of age. Results: In total, 97.8% of subjects were seropositive for rubella-specific IgG antibodies, with a median titer of 40.56 IU/mL, suggesting a high degree of immunization; however, 2.2% of subjects were found to be seronegative. Interestingly, 25.1% of subjects were seropositive but had titers lower than 25 IU/mL, indicating either a population of low responders or individuals that could potentially be at risk of waning immunity. No significant associations or differences were found between RV-specific titers and demographic variables such as age, sex, or body mass index (BMI). Conclusions: A high rate of seropositivity for rubella was found among this young adult cohort, but a significant percent of the cohort had lower titers that may indicate poor initial vaccine response and potential risk if their antibody titers decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3876-3882
Number of pages7
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jun 27 2019


  • Antibodies
  • Demographics
  • MMR
  • Measles-mumps-rubella
  • Rubella
  • Seroepidemiology
  • Titer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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