Lower Vaccine Response Persists in Extremely Premature Infants

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 05 – Former extremely preterm infants have lower antibody titers to many vaccine antigens at 7 years than children born at full term, according to a report in the March issue of Pediatrics. However, antibody titers are still in the protective range in most of these children.
Dr. Carl T. D'Angio and colleagues, from the University of Rochester, New York, compared the immune response of 16 former extremely preterm infants and 16 age-matched full-term controls at 7 years. All children had received their routine childhood immunizations at the appropriate chronological ages. The researchers measured antibodies to Haemophilus influenzae type b polyribosylribitol phosphate (Hib-PRP), tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, polio, and hepatitis B.

The full-term group had higher antidiphtheria geometric mean titers (GMT) than the preterm group. Protective diphtheria titers (greater than 0.10 IU/mL) were found in all of the full term and 13 of the preterm children. Full-term children had tetanus GMT of 4.22 IU/mL, compared with 1.99 IU/mL in the preterm group. Protective tetanus titers (greater than 0.01 IU/mL) were found in all the children.

Pertussis titers were similar in both groups of children. The full-term group had higher Hib-PRP GMT than the preterm group, at 3.21 mcg/mL and 1.41 mcg/mL, respectively (p = 0.03). "All children had anti-PRP of at least 0.15 mcg/mL," the team notes. Twelve of the16 full-term children and 10 of the 16 preterm children had levels at least 1.0 mcg/mL. …

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