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Rubella Seroepidemiology and Catch-up Immunization among Pregnant Women in Taiwan: Comparison between Women Born in Taiwan and Immigrants from Six Countries in Asia

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  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, and Department of Family Medicine Fooying University Hospital, Pingtung, Taiwan; Department of Medical Technology, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Graduate Institute of Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, and Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Rubella vaccination in Taiwan started in 1986; mass vaccination was introduced into the national immunization program in 1992. In recent years, 17–31% of all marriages in Taiwan have been between Taiwanese men and foreign women. The aim of this study was to analyze rubella seroepidemiology and the rate of catch-up immunization in women. We recruited 10,089 pregnant women, including 1,920 immigrants, who had received prenatal examinations during 1999–2006. The rates of seronegativity among global, Taiwan-born, and non–Taiwan-born pregnant women were 14.0%, 11.9%, and 23.1%, respectively. The seronegativity of rubella antibodies decreased from 28.2% for Taiwan-born women born before September 1971 to 8.0% for those born thereafter. The rates of rubella catch-up immunization among global, Taiwan-born, and non–Taiwan-born pregnant women were 28.6%, 20.5%, and 42.2%, respectively. Our results suggest that substantial numbers of older Taiwan-born women and immigrant women remain susceptible to rubella infection.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Yeou-Lih Huang, Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Kaohsiung Medical University, 100, Shih-Chuan 1st Road, San Ming District, 807 Kaohsiung, Taiwan. E-mail: yelihu@kmu.edu.tw

Financial support: This study was supported by Fooyin University Hospital.

Authors' addresses: Ching-Chiang Lin, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Fooyin University Hospital, 5 Pingtung, Taiwan, E-mail: x6053@ms25.hinet.net. Chun-Yuh Yang, Institute of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, E-mail: chunyuh@kmu.edu.tw. Ching-Tang Shih, Department of Family Medicine, Fooyin University Hospital, Pingtung, Taiwan, E-mail: aaronshih@yahoo.com. Bai-Hsiun Chen, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, E-mail: chen_bh.tw@yahoo.com.tw. Yeou-Lih Huang, Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, E-mail: yulihu@kmu.edu.tw.

Reprint requests: Yeou-Lih Huang, Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, Kaohsiung Medical University, 100 Shih-Chuan 1st Road, San Ming District, 807 Kaohsiung, Taiwan, E-mail: yulihu@kmu.edu.tw.

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