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Parents of internationally adopted children advised to verify children's immunization levels
Date:5/5/2009

CLEVELAND May 5, 2009 A study by the division of global child health at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine cautions adoptive parents not to rely solely on vaccination records when gauging their internationally adopted children's immunizations. In the study, "Predictive Value of Immunization Records and Risk Factors for Immunization Failure in Internationally Adopted Children," division chief, Anna Maria Mandalakas, M.D., M.S., and her colleagues examined immunization records in international adoptees and found that the records may not accurately predict if a child is protected from disease even with what appears to be a valid written immunization record, a child may lack immunization.

In the study of 465 children with valid records, the researchers looked at the predictive value of immunization records in children from China, Russia, and Guatemala and identified those whose records might fail, that is, those records which would not accurately reflect the immunities present in the children's body. Multiple factors may lead to the inaccuracies: falsification of vaccine certificates, inaccurate entries, lack of vaccine potency, and impaired immune response, which could be linked to stress or malnutrition. They also examined whether a child's birth country had an impact on the records' accuracy. This was found to not be an effective measure of protection.

Serologic testing, a type of blood test that identifies antibodies, was conducted on the children in the study and the results found that the immunization levels did not consistently match those of their written records. The tests for diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, polio, measles, and hepatitis B immunity rates ranged from 58.3 percent to 94.6 percent. The results indicated written records overestimate a child's protective immunity.

"Based on our findings, I recommend prospective parents try to obtain a vaccination record prior to the child's arriva
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Contact: Christina DeAngelis
christinadeangelis@case.edu
216-368-3635
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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