CLEVELAND, May 8 (UPI) -- Children adopted from countries such as Russia, China or Guatemala may not be protected against polio or measles despite vaccine records, U.S. researchers say.
Emaculate Verla-Tebit and colleagues at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland obtained data from 465 children who visited the International Adoption Clinic at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital between 2001 and 2006, and who presented for care within 180 days of arrival in the United States.
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found about 42 percent of adopted children came from Russia, 21 percent came from China and 16 percent from Guatemala. Immunization records were available for 85 percent of adopted children -- average age 19.4 months. Blood samples were obtained and tested for evidence of immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, hepatitis B and polio.
The results suggest that the predictive value of immunization records in international adoptions may be limited -- the reasons proposed include falsification of vaccine certificates, inaccurate entries, lack of vaccine potency, or impaired immune response, possibly due to stress or malnutrition.
"Immunization records should not be accepted as evidence of protective immunity," the study authors said in a statement. "Parents should be well informed and supported to choose between revaccination or vaccination, based on serologic -- blood -- testing."