Diphtheria seroprevalence in children living in the eastern Turkey

  • S Altinkaynak
  • V Ertekin
  • A Arik
  • A Guraksin


Objectives: To determine the seroprevalence of diphtheria in 767 children aged 0-6 years and to identify the relationship between diphtheria seroprevalence and several sociodemographic characteristics of the study subjects in the Erzurum, Erzincan and Kars cities situated in Eastern Turkey.

Design: A cross sectional study.

Setting: The subjects were recruited from three cities (Erzurum, Erzincan, Kars). The sampling method of 30 clusters recommended for field studies was used for a predetermined number of selecting subjects in the rural and urban areas in each city.

Subjects: Of the 767 children included in this study, 423 were from Erzurum, 187 from Kars and 157 from Erzincan. Diphtheria serology was used to examine the blood samples by ELISA method.

Results: Positive diphtheria seroprevalence was detected in 77.9% of 767 subjects in Eastern Turkey. Seroprevalence was 74.5% in children younger than one year of age, increased to 84% at the age of 3-4 years, and reduced to 80% at the age of 4-5 years and 69.8% at the age of 5-6 years. The seroprevalence rates were similar in sex and number of siblings. Seroprevalence of diphtheria increased with educational level of parents in the rural area.

Conclusion: Positive seroprevalence against diphtheria in eastern Turkey is disturbingly


East African Medical Journal Vol.80(12) 2003: 617-621

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eISSN: 0012-835X