Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine Administered Simultaneously With Measles Vaccine Is Associated With Increased Morbidity and Poor Growth in Girls

Agergaard J, Nante E, Poulstrup G, Nielsen J, Flanagan KL, Ostergaard L, Benn CS, Aaby P. Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine administered simultaneously with measles vaccine is associated with increased morbidity and poor growth in girls. A randomised trial from Guinea-Bissau. Vaccine. 2011 Jan 10;29(3):487-500. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

BACKGROUND: Combined vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) and measles vaccine (MV) has been associated with increased mortality in observational studies. Among children missing MV and a dose of DTP and oral polio vaccine (OPV), we conducted a randomised trial of providing MV+DTP+OPV simultaneously, as currently recommended, or MV+OPV only, and examined the effect on morbidity and growth. We hypothesised that the MV+OPV group would experience less morbidity and grow better. Due to previous observations of sex differences in the non-specific effects of vaccinations, we analysed all data stratified by sex. METHODS: At the Bandim health Project in Guinea-Bissau, 568 children who were due to receive MV and who were missing either DTP3 or DTP booster were enrolled in the study. A subgroup of 332 children was followed intensively to register adverse events and infections in the first month after vaccination. A subgroup of 276 children was followed every third month for a year to monitor growth. All children were followed for one year for infectious diseases, consultations, and hospitalisations. RESULTS: As expected, adverse events were more common in the MV+DTP+OPV group; diarrhoea and use of medication were increased among girls but not among boys (both p=0.02, test of interaction between DTP and sex). Febrile disease with vesicular rash, as well as consultations and hospitalisations tended to be more common in the MV+DTP+OPV group than in the MV+OPV group; the hazard ratio (HR) for febrile disease with vesicular rash was 1.86 (1.00; 3.47). The strongest tendencies for more febrile diseases and hospitalisations in the MV+DTP+OPV group were found in girls. Overall, growth did not differ by randomisation group. However, results differed by sex. Girls in the MV+DTP+OPV group had a consistent pattern of worse z-scores for weight, height, and mid-upper-arm-circumference (MUAC) than girls in the MV+OPV group. The effect was opposite for boys, with boys in the MV+OPV group faring worse than those in the MV+DTP+OPV group, the interaction test for sex and DTP being significant for weight at 6 and 9 months, for MUAC at 12 months and for weight-for-height at 3 and 9 months after randomisation. CONCLUSION: This is the first randomised trial of the non-specific effects of DTP and supports that these effects may be sex-differential and of clinical and anthropometric importance. Combined vaccination with DTP+MV+OPV may be detrimental for girls. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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