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Meningococcal antibody titres in infants of women immunised with meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine during pregnancy.
  1. T. J. O'Dempsey,
  2. T. McArdle,
  3. S. J. Ceesay,
  4. O. Secka,
  5. E. Demba,
  6. W. A. Banya,
  7. N. Francis,
  8. B. M. Greenwood
  1. Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, Gambia.


    Seventy five Gambian women were immunised with a single dose of a group A+group C meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine during the last trimester of pregnancy. IgG antibody titres were measured in mothers and in their infants by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). All women had a good response to vaccination and maternal antibodies were high at the time of delivery (23.2 micrograms/ml for group A antibodies and 14.3 micrograms/ml for group C antibodies). However, only a proportion of this antibody crossed the placenta; cord blood:maternal antibody ratios were 30% for group A antibody and 44% for group C antibody, respectively. Considerable variability in cord blood:maternal blood ratios was seen between individuals. This could not be related to age, parity, or ethnic group. Mean group A and group C cord blood:maternal blood ratios were lower in women with serological evidence of syphilis than in seronegative women, and diminished transfer of group A antibody was noted in women with active malarial infection of the placenta. Antibody titres declined rapidly in infants and by the age of 3-4 months these had reached control values. Maternal immunisation may give infants some protection against group A and group C meningococcal disease but only during the first few months of life.

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