Impact of Measles Rubella Vaccination Campaign on Population Immunity in India

CHALLENGE

Measles is a highly contagious disease that results from infection with measles virus and is still responsible for more than 100,000 deaths every year, down from more than 2 million deaths annually before the introduction and widespread use of measles vaccine. Well-planned, large-scale serological surveys, or studies that include serum and other bodily fluids, can provide direct estimates of population immunity to measles and rubella viruses.

Understanding population immunity and profiles of susceptibility to measles and rubella viruses can provide important evidence to support strategic decision making and evaluate the progress of measles elimination and rubella control programs. The India Expert Advisory Group on measles in its first meeting in February 2017 recommended measles serosurveys to guide the program.

APPROACH

The “Impact of Measles-Rubella Vaccination campaign on population Immunity in India” (IMRVI) project is a collaborative study led by the Indian Council of Medical Research. The study consists of a set of district-level, cross-sectional household serosurveys of children and adult women to estimate population immunity to measles and rubella viruses in nine states throughout India. The surveys are conducted in selected districts with Model Rural Health Research Units.

In addition, the study is evaluating operational research questions on serological surveillance methods. In select sites, we will evaluate if:

  1. Facility-based serosurveys using easy-to-access blood samples can identify immunity gaps in the population.
  2. Dried blood spots can be used as an alternative collection method to accurately estimate seroprevalence to measles and rubella viruses.
  3. Estimate the time, cost and feasibility of household serosurveys.

The IMRVI project seeks to build capacity to conduct serological surveillance in rural research units and apply advanced analytic methods for the analysis of serological data.