Revealing measles cases in Vietnam during the spread of a new coronavirus infection

Cover Page

Cite item


Introduction. According to the WHO Strategic Plan, five out of six geographical regions were expected to achieve measles elimination by 2020, among which is the Western Pacific Region (WPR), which includes the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (VNM). In 2019, 14 156 measles cases were detected in Vietnam, which significantly exceeds the level required to achieve its elimination (less than 1 case per 1 million population). Analyzing the causes of the ongoing measles virus circulation in diverse global regions is very important. It is also important to assess a potential impact on the measles incidence due to anti-epidemic measures aimed at combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This research is devoted to revealation measles cases in South Vietnam within the period covering January 2020 to March 2021. Materials and methods. 799 samples of blood sera obtained from different territories of South Vietnam in 2020–2021 were examined for IgM antibodies against measles virus using the Anti-Measles Virus ELISA (IgM) test system (Euroimmun, Germany). The presence of IgM measles virus antibodies in the blood serum was assessed as an acute measles infection. Results. The measles virus was actively circulating in South Vietnam in the first months of 2020. Residents of large cities and industrial centers were mainly involved in the epidemic process. Measles spread mainly among unvaccinated (71.58%) subjects, or who was unaware of vaccinations (25.48%), but also among those who were vaccinated (2.12%) and revaccinated (0.64%). The absolute majority of cases (71%) affected children under the age of three, with a predominance of those at the first year of life. Among the latter, 48% were children aged 7-9 months old. In March- April 2020, there was a sharp decrease in the number of measles cases in South Vietnam, down to a sporadic level (from May 2020 to March 2021). This is probably due to the anti-epidemic measures that were carried out in the VNM in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, after the restrictions are lifted, we can expect an increase in the measles incidence in VNM.

About the authors

I. N. Lavrentieva

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2188-6547

Irina N. Lavrentieva - PhD, MD (Medicine), Head of the Laboratory of Experimental Virology, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute.

197101, St. Petersburg, Mira str., 14.

Phone: +7 (812) 232-94-11 (office).

Russian Federation

M. Hoang

Ho Chi Minh Pasteur Institute

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3444-1360

Researcher, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Ho Chi Minh Pasteur Institute.

Ho Chi Minh City.

Viet Nam

A. Y. Antipova

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7763-535X

PhD (Biology), Researcher, Laboratory of Experimental Virology, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute.

St. Petersburg.

Russian Federation

M. A. Bichurina

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5184-0315

PhD, MD (Medicine), Head of the Virological Laboratory of the Measles and Rubella Elimination Center, St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute.

St. Petersburg.

Russian Federation

A. A. Totolyan

St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute


Areg A. Totolian  - RAS Full Member, PhD, MD (Medicine), Professor,Director of St. Petersburg Pasteur Institute.

St. Petersburg.

Russian Federation


  1. Антипова А.Ю., Бичурина М.А., Лаврентьева И.Н. К вопросу о реализации программы элиминации кори в странах Западно-Тихоокеанского региона ВОЗ // Инфекция и иммунитет. 2018. Т. 8, № 4. С. 465–472. doi: 10.15789/2220-7619-2018-4-465-472
  2. Лаврентьева И.Н., Бичурина М.А., Антипова А.Ю., Камара Ж., Магассуба Н’Ф. Выявление случаев кори в Гвинейской Республике в 2017–2018 гг. // Инфекция и иммунитет. 2020. Т. 10, № 3. С. 570–574. doi: 10/15789/2220-7619-DOM-1333
  3. Hang L.K.N., Do L.P., Van T.T.T., Nguyen S.V., Hoang P.V.M., Pham H.T., Le T.T., Tran H.T.T., Vuong C.D., Mai T.Q.L. Viral co-infections among children with confirmed measles at hospitals in Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014. Asian Pac. J. Trop. Med., 2017, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 171–174. doi: 10.1016/j.apjtm.2017.01.015
  4. Marin M., Nguyen H.Q., Langidrik J.R., Edwards R., Briand K., Papania M.J., Seward J.F., LeBaron C.W. Measles transmission and vaccine effectiveness during a large outbreak on a densely populated island: implications for vaccination policy. Clin. Infect. Dis., 2006, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 315–319. doi: 10.1086/498902
  5. Measles and rubella strategic framework 2021–2030. Geneva: WHO, 2020. 48 p. URL:
  6. Nmor J.C., Thanh H., Goto K. Recurring measles epidemic in Vietnam 2005–2009: implication for strengthened control strategies. Int. J. Biol. Sci., 2011, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 138–146. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.7.138
  7. Patel M.K., Gacic-Dobo M., Strebel P.M., Dabbagh A., Mulders M.N., Okwo-Bele J.-M., Dumolard L., Rota P.A., Kretsinger K., Goodson J.L. Progress towards regional measles elimination — worldwide, 2000–2015. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly Rep., 2016, vol. 65, no. 44, pp. 525–536. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6544a6
  8. Pham V.H., Nguyet D.P.H., Mai Kh.N.H., Truong Kh.H., Huynh L.V. Measles epidemics among children in Vietnam: genomic characterization of virus responsible for measles outbreak in Ho Chi Minh city, 2014. eBioMedicine, 2014, vol. 1, no. 2–3, pp. 133– 140. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2014.10.015
  9. Roberts L. In Vietnam, an anatomy of a measles outbreak. Science, 2015, vol. 348, no. 6238: 962. doi: 10.1126/science.348.6238.962
  10. Schluter W.W., Xiaojun W., Mendoza-Aldana J., Jee Y., Diorditsa S. Progress toward measles elimination — Western Pacific Region, 2009–2012. MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly Rep., 2013, vol. 62, no. 22, pp. 443–447.
  11. Sniadack D.H., Mendoza-Aldana J., Huyen D.T.T., Van T.T.T., Cuong N.V., Olive J.M., Toda K., Hien N.T. Epidemiology of a measles epidemic in Vietnam 2008–2010. J. Infect. Dis., 2011, vol. 204, no. 1, pp. S476–S482. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir092
  12. Soakai T.S., Sadr-Azodi N., Ozturk M., Clements C.J. Measles control in Pacific Island countries and territories. Ann. Virol. Res., 2016, vol. 2, no. 3: 1022.
  13. WHO. Global measles and rubella strategic plan: 2012–2020. Geneva: WHO, 2012. 44 p.
  14. WHO. Global measles and rubella update. April 2018. Measles. WHO, 2018. 54 p.
  15. WHO. Measles and rubella elimination in the Western Pacific: regional strategy and plan of action. Annex. WHO, 2017. 101 p.
  16. WHO. Measles reported cases. Last update: 15-Oct-2020 (data received as of 12-Oct-20). URL:
  17. WHO. Reported measles cases and incidence rates by WHO States 2013, 2014 as of 11 February 2015. WHO, 2015. 7 p. URL:
  18. Zhang Y. An update for the Western pacific region including an update on the current outbreak in Mongolia. In: Report on the 13th global measles and rubella laboratory network meeting, WHO/HQ Geneva 29 June — 1 July. Geneva: WHO, 2015, pp. 18–20.

Supplementary files

There are no supplementary files to display.

Copyright (c) 2022 Lavrentieva I.N., Hoang M., Antipova A.Y., Bichurina M.A., Totolyan A.A.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

СМИ зарегистрировано Федеральной службой по надзору в сфере связи, информационных технологий и массовых коммуникаций (Роскомнадзор).
Регистрационный номер и дата принятия решения о регистрации СМИ: серия ПИ № ФС 77 - 64788 от 02.02.2016.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies