Reliability of medical students' vaccination histories for immunisable diseases

Wicker, Sabine; Allwinn, Regina; Gottschalk, René; Rabenau, Holger F.
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p121
Academic Journal
Background: Medical students come into contact with infectious diseases early on their career. Immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases is therefore vital for both medical students and the patients with whom they come into contact. Methods: The purpose of this study was to compare the medical history and serological status of selected vaccine-preventable diseases of medical students in Germany. Results: The overall correlation between self-reported medical history statements and serological findings among the 150 students studied was 86.7 %, 66.7 %, 78 % and 93.3 % for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, conditional on sufficient immunity being achieved after one vaccination. Although 81.2 % of the students' medical history data correlated with serological findings, significant gaps in immunity were found. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that medical history alone is not a reliable screening tool for immunity against the vaccine-preventable diseases studied.


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