Objective. To determine if upper respiratory tract infection (URI) affects the seroconversion rate or quantitative response to each component of a combined measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine.
Subjects and methods. One hundred forty-nine children between 15 and 18 months of age were prospectively divided into two groups according to the presence of URI or recent history of URI symptoms within the 4 weeks before vaccination. Once stratified, 74 children in the healthy group and 75 children in the URI group were randomly assigned to receive one of three lots of measles-mumps-rubella varicella vaccine by subcutaneous injection into the deltoid area. Serum was obtained from each child just before vaccination and 4 to 6 weeks later for measuring antibody levels against each virus.
Results. Prevaccination antibody levels against each virus in the URI and healthy groups did not differ. Nine children had pre-existing antibodies to varicella and six to mumps; no child had positive serologies for measles or rubella before vaccination. Children with pre-existing antibody were excluded from analysis of seroconversion for that virus. Seroconversion to measles, mumps, and rubella occurred in 100% of children in both groups. Mean antibody levels did not differ between the healthy and URI groups for measles (111 vs 122), mumps (97 vs 108), or rubella (96 vs 102). Three (4%) of 70 children with URIs in whom varicella serologies were available failed to seroconvert to varicella vaccine although none of the 69 healthy children had vaccine failure (P = .24). The mean varicella antibody level was 11.3 ± 1.4 in the healthy children, which did not differ significantly from the level of 9.5 ± 0.9 in the URI group.
Conclusions. Seroconversion to measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella was not significantly affected by the presence of a concurrent or recent URI in 15-to 18-month-old children.