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Abstract

In rare cases vaccination with the measles virus vaccine genotype A (MeVA) may cause a vaccine reaction with clinical signs similar to infection with wild-type measles virus (MeVwt). Rapid differentiation between MeVA and MeVwt infection is important for taking adequate public health measures. Recently, a few MeVA real-time reverse-transcription quantitative PCR methods (RT-qPCRs) were described that can distinguish between MeVA and MeVwt. However, detection of MeVA does in theory not exclude infection with MeVwt. In the present study, we established a protocol for determination of co-infections with MeVA and MeVwt. To this end, MeVA RT-qPCRs were used in combination with the routine measles virus (MeV) RT-qPCR, and the results suggested that the differences between the RT-qPCR Ct values (delta Ct, ∆Ct) could be used as criteria. Subsequently, we tested samples from vaccine-associated measles cases that were confirmed by genotyping. In addition, experimental mixtures of MeVA and MeVwt were tested in different concentrations. All tested MeVA clinical samples had ∆Ct ≤3.6. The results of experimental mixtures showed a mean ∆Ct ≤2.8 for genotype A alone and >3.2 when combined with either genotype B3 or D8. The results of a receiver operator characteristic analysis indicated that the optimum ∆Ct for use as a cut-off value was 3.5, while with ∆Ct values of 2.9 and 3.7 sensitivity and specificity were respectively 1.00. Thus, ∆Ct could be used to exclude the presence of MeVwt if MeVA is detected and ∆Ct is <2.9, while ∆Ct >3.7 were highly suggestive of co-infection and ≥2.9 ∆Ct <3.7 warranted additional confirmation, such as next-generation sequencing. This RT-qPCR-based protocol could be used for the exclusion of infection with MeVwt in cases with vaccine-associated measles reaction, crucial for the timely implementation of public health prevention and control measures.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License.
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2021-11-05
2021-12-04
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