Immunity to diphtheria in a sample of adult population fron central Italy

C. Cellesi, A. Zanchi, C. Michelangeli, F. Giovannoni, A. Sansoni, G. M. Rossolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A sample of 643 healthy subjects from central Italy aged 20 to 80, were screened for diphtheria antitoxin. Serum diphtheria antitoxin was assayed by a new passive haemagglutination technique using turkey red blood cells sensitized with diphtheria toxoid, after having performed a correlation study between this technique and the reference in vivo neutralization test. Of the studied population 26.7% showed a lack of serum antitoxin titres considered to be protective. The rate of susceptible subjects increased with age, showing the highest value (38.9%) in the sixth decade of age. Males proved less protected than females; 53.2% of the male population aged 50-59 were lacking a protective anti-diphtheria immunity. On the basis of present results, a periodical revaccination of the entire adult population with reduced doses of diphtheria toxoid would be advisable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-420
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Diphtheria immunity
  • serological survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • veterinary(all)


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