Association between antibody titers and protection against influenza virus infection within households.


An HAI titer of 1:40 was associated with substantially less than 50% protection against PCR-confirmed influenza virus infection within households, perhaps because of exposures of greater duration or intensity in that confined setting.

Compared to a reference group with antibody titers <1:10, we found that HAI titers of 1:40 against influenza A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) were associated with 31% (95% confidence interval [CI], 13%-46%) and 31% (CI, 1%-53%) protection against polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed A(H1N1) and A(H3N2) virus infection, respectively, while an MN titer of 1:40 against A(H3N2) was associated with 49% (95% CI, 7%-81%) protection against PCR-confirmed A(H3N2) virus infection.

Previous studies have established that antibody titer measured by the hemagglutination-inhibiting (HAI) assay is correlated with protection against influenza virus infection, with an HAI titer of 1:40 generally associated with 50% protection.

We recruited index cases with confirmed influenza virus infection from outpatient clinics, and followed up their household contacts for 7-10 days to identify secondary infections. Serum samples collected from a subset of household contacts were tested by HAI and microneutralization (MN) assays against prevalent influenza viruses. We analyzed the data using an individual hazard-based transmission model that adjusted for age and vaccination history.

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