Seroprevalence of poliovirus antibodies amongst children in Zaria, northern Nigeria
Background: Poliomyelitis is endemic in Northern Nigeria where there is continuous transmission of wild poliovirus 1 and 3 (WPV1 and 3) and circulating vaccine derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) resulting in a high number of cases of children with acute flaccid paralysis. The seroprevalence of antibodies to polio serotypes which can be used to assess the immune status of children and the effectiveness of the vaccine against poliomyelitis is unknown, despite its endemicity in this part of the world. Objective: This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of poliovirus antibodies in children aged 1–10 years in Zaria, Northern Nigeria. Methods: A descriptive, cross sectional, community based study was undertaken in Zaria, North Western Nigeria between 2008 and 2009. Two hundred and sixty-four (264) children aged 1–10 years were enrolled from two local government in Zaria by multistage random sampling method. Demographic data and polio immunisation history were retrieved from parents and caregivers by an interviewer administered questionnaire. Neutralising antibody titres to polioserotypes 1, 2 and 3 were assayed according to the WHO Manual for the virological investigation of polio. Antibody titres ≥1:8 were considered positive. Results: The mean age of the 264 children studied was 6.25 years. Fifty-five percent of the children were protected against the three polioserotypes, while 86.4%, 76.1% and 77.3% of children had neutralising antibodies to P1, P2 and P3 polioserotypes respectively. 5 (1.9%) of the children had no antibodies to all the three polioserotypes. Polio antibody seropositivity was significantly associated with higher socioeconomic status and immunisation was the single mostimportant determinant of seropositivity to poliovirus serotypes. Conclusion: Seroprevalence to poliovirus serotypes, though higher than values found in previous studies done in Nigeria, was lower compared to findings in the developed world. The use of more immunogenic vaccines and the balanced use of OPV formulations in SIAs, with further improvements in programme quality could provide the necessary immune booster to make polio eradication in Nigeria a reality.