Laboratory diagnosis of acute measles infections in hospitalized children in Zambia

H. Oshitani, H. Suzuki, M. Mpabalwani, K. Mizuta, F. C. Kasolo, N. P. Luo, Y. Numazaki

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Laboratory diagnosis of measles infection is rarely performed in developing countries and tends to depend on clinical symptoms alone. We evaluated detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies for confirmation of acute measles infection in Zambia. In 149 hospitalized children with clinical diagnosis of measles, IgM antibodies were detected in 88.6% (132/149). The IgM-positive rate increased with time after onset of skin rash and all samples were positive after 4 days. In addition to IgM antibody test, virus isolations from throat swabs using B95a cells were also performed. These were positive in only 20.9% (14/67), and both IgM and virus isolation in combination increased the positive rate to 92.5% (62/67). Vaccinated children had higher neutralizing (Nt) antibody responses and, among IgM-negative patients, all 4 vaccinated children had high Nt antibodies while all 10 unvaccinated children had negative or low Nt results. The IgM antibody test was proved to be a sensitive method for laboratory confirmation of measles virus infection in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-616
Number of pages5
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • IgM
  • isolation
  • measles
  • vaccine failure
  • Zambia


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