Thursday, August 02, 2012

Study: Vaccination and waning immunity.

 2009 Jun 7;276(1664):2071-80. Epub 2009 Mar 4.

Implications of vaccination and waning immunity.


Department of Mathematics, York University, N520 Ross Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3.


For infectious diseases where immunization can offer lifelong protection, a variety of simple models can be used to explain the utility of vaccination as a control method. However, for many diseases, immunity wanes over time and is subsequently enhanced (boosted) by asymptomatic encounters with the infection. The study of this type of epidemiological process requires a model formulation that can capture both the within-host dynamics of the pathogen and immune system as well as the associated population-level transmission dynamics. Here, we parametrize such a model for measles and show how vaccination can have a range of unexpected consequences as it reduces the natural boosting of immunity as well as reducing the number of naive susceptibles. In particular, we show that moderate waning times (40-80 years) and high levels of vaccination (greater than 70%) can induce large-scale oscillations with substantial numbers of symptomatic cases being generated at the peak. In addition, we predict that, after a long disease-free period, the introduction of infection will lead to far larger epidemics than that predicted by standard models. These results have clear implications for the long-term success of any vaccination campaign and highlight the need for a sound understanding of the immunological mechanisms of immunity and vaccination.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] 

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