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Neonatal Tetanus Immunity in Nigeria: The Effect of HIV Infection on Serum Levels and Transplacental Transfer of Antibodies
Background: Tetanus toxoid immunisation of pregnant mother has remained the most effective strategy in eliminating neonatal tetanus. Impaired production and/or transplacental transfer of antibodies may affect the effectiveness of this strategy. We studied the effect of maternal HIV infection on serum levels and transplacental transfer of anti-tetanus antibodies. Methods: A total of 162 mother-baby paired serum samples were taken and analysed for anti-tetanus antibody levels using ELISA.Maternal HIV status was also determined by double ELISA technique. Maternal TT vaccination status was also documented. Results: Thirty-eight (23.5%) mothers and 41 (25.3%) babies were seronegative, out of whom 8 mothers were HIV positive and 9 babies were HIV exposed. HIV infected mothers and HIV exposed infants were, respectively, 16.27 times (OR = 16.27, 95% CI = 3.28 to 80.61) and 33.75 times (OR = 33.75, 95% CI = 4.12 to 276.40) more likely to be seronegative for anti-tetanus antibody. Similarly, HIV positive mother newborn pairs were 7.46 times more likely to have a poor transplacental transfer of tetanus antibodies (OR = 7.46, 95% CI = 1.96 to 28.41). Conclusions: Maternal HIV infection is associated with impaired maternofoetal transfer of anti-tetanus antibodies and seronegativity among mothers and their newborns. Hence, this may hinder efforts to eliminate neonatal tetanus.
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