A Cross-sectional Serological Study for Measles among Italian Medical Students in 2020

Trabucco Aurilio Marco1, I Iannuzzi2, L Di Giampaolo3, A Pietroiusti2, C Ferrari2, L Coppeta2, *
1 Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V. Tiberio”, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
2 Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
3 Department of Occupational Medicine, University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy

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© 2020 Marco et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy; E-mail:



Measles is an infectious disease and a major health concern worldwide. Among individuals with a higher risk of exposure to measles, there are the Health Care Workers (HCWs), who may transmit the virus to other people. According to the Italian National Plan for Immunization and Prevention, all HCWs should have presumptive evidence of immunity to measles (documented two doses of MMR vaccination) or serological evidence of protective antibodies.


The study aims to evaluate the immunological status, the vaccine coverage, and the protective IgG antibody titre for measles in medical students of the teaching hospital PoliclinicoTor Vergata (PTV).


IgG measles antibodies titre was evaluated in a sample of 461 medical students undergoing annual health surveillance visits from January 1st to May 31th, 2020.


73.7% of medical students showed protective measles IgG antibody levels. The immunization rate was higher among subjects aged less than 25 years with respect to students aged over 25 years (77.4% vs. 66.4%; P <0,001). Furthermore, average antibody titre showed a statistically significant association with the age group (124,2 AU/ml for the age group 18-25 and 133,2 AU/ml among subjects aged 25 or more; P<0.001).


Our study shows a non-protective measles IgG antibody titre, especially among the older students. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the serological levels, to vaccinate those subjects whose antibody level is not adequate, and promote the vaccination even in the general population.

Keywords: Occupational epidemiology, Infection, Health care workers, Measles, Medical students, Antibodies.