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Keywords:

  • susceptibility;
  • measles;
  • mumps;
  • rubella;
  • varicella

Abstract

Background

Health science students (HSS) are at increased risk of contracting and transmitting viral diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of susceptibility of HSS to these infections.

Methods

Using a cross-sectional design, 790 HSS of Manipal University, Manipal, India, answered a questionnaire and provided a blood sample which was tested for specific IgG antibodies to measles, mumps, rubella and varicella by ELISA (Enzygnost®).

Results

The study group was comprised of medical (53.9%), nursing (16.6%), and allied health (29.5%) students. Among the overall group (n = 790), the prevalence of serological susceptibility to measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella were 9.5%, 32.0%, 16.6%, and 25.8%, respectively. Among the subgroup of vaccinated subjects, susceptibility to measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella were 7.9%, 34.7%, 10.7%, and 35.2%, respectively.

Conclusion

HSS susceptible to measles, mumps, rubella, and/or varicella are at risk of acquiring these diseases during their training period. In addition, they may be a potential source for nosocomial transmission posing a risk to immunocompromised patients. Hence, in the Indian setting, HSS should be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella at the time of joining the medical school. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:58–64, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.