Assessing age-dependent susceptibility to measles in Japan

Volume 35, Issue 25, Pages 3281-3354 (5 June 2017)

Regular papers
Assessing age-dependent susceptibility to measles in Japan
Original Research Article
Pages 3309-3317
Ryo Kinoshita, Hiroshi Nishiura
Routine vaccination against measles in Japan started in 1978. Whereas measles elimination was verified in 2015, multiple chains of measles transmission were observed in 2016. We aimed to reconstruct the age-dependent susceptibility to measles in Japan so that future vaccination strategies can be elucidated.
An epidemiological model was used to quantify the age-dependent immune fraction using datasets of vaccination coverage and seroepidemiological survey. The second dose was interpreted in two different scenarios, i.e., booster and random shots. The effective reproduction number, the average number of secondary cases generated by a single infected individual, and the age at infection were explored using the age-dependent transmission model and the next generation matrix.
While the herd immunity threshold of measles likely ranges from 90% to 95%, assuming that the basic reproductive number ranges from 10 to 20, the estimated immune fraction in Japan was below those thresholds in 2016, despite the fact that the estimates were above 80% for all ages. If the second dose completely acted as the booster shot, a proportion immune above 90% was achieved only among those aged 5 years or below in 2016. Alternatively, if the second dose was randomly distributed regardless of primary vaccination status, a proportion immune over 90% was achieved among those aged below 25 years. The effective reproduction number was estimated to range from 1.50 to 3.01 and from 1.50 to 3.00, respectively, for scenarios 1 and 2 in 2016; if the current vaccination schedule were continued, the reproduction number is projected to range from 1.50 to 3.01 and 1.39 to 2.78, respectively, in 2025.
Japan continues to be prone to imported cases of measles. Supplementary vaccination among adults aged 20–49 years would be effective if the chains of transmission continue to be observed in that age group.