Background: The 17D-yellow fever (YF) vaccination is considered contraindicated in immune-compromised patients; however, accidental vaccination occurs. In this population, measuring the immune response is useful in clinical practice.
Methods: In this study we compare two antibody tests (the Immune Fluorescence Assay and the Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test) in a group of Dutch immune-compromised travellers with a median of 33 days (IQR [28-49]) after primary YF vaccination.
Results: We collected samples of 15 immune-compromised vaccinees vaccinated with the 17D yellow fever vaccine between 2004 and 2012. All samples measured in the plaque reduction neutralization test yielded positive results (>80% virus neutralization with a 1:10 serum dilution). Immune Fluorescence Assay sensitivity was 28% (95% CI [0.12-0.49]). No adverse events were reported.
Conclusions: All immune-compromised patients mounted an adequate response with protective levels of virus neutralizing antibodies to the 17-D YF vaccine. No adverse effects were reported. Compared to the plaque reduction neutralization test, the sensitivity of the Immune Fluorescence Assay test was low. Further research is needed to ascertain that 17D vaccination in immune-compromised patients is safe.

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Department of Virology

Wieten, R.W, Jonker, E.F.F, Pieren, D.K.J, Hodiamont, C.J, van Thiel, P.P.A.M, van Gorp, E.C.M, … Goorhuis, A. (2016). Comparison of the PRNT and an immune fluorescence assay in yellow fever vaccinees receiving immunosuppressive medication. Vaccine, 34(10), 1247–1251. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.01.037