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Genetic associations with a fever after measles-containing vaccines

Children have elevated fever risk 1 to 2 weeks after the first dose of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV), which is likely affected by genetic, immunologic, and clinical factors. Fever after MCV is associated with febrile seizures, though may also be associated with higher measles antibody titers. This exploratory study investigated genetic and immunologic associations with a fever after MCV. Concurrent with a randomized Phase 3 clinical trial of 12-15-month-olds who received their first measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine in which parents recorded post-vaccination temperatures daily, we consented a subset to collect additional blood and performed human leukocyte antigens (HLA) typing. Association between fever 5-12 days after MMR (“MMR-associated”) and HLA type was assessed using logistic regression. We compared 42-day post-vaccination geometric mean titers (GMT) to measles between children who did and did not have fever using a t-test. We enrolled 86 children and performed HLA typing on 82; 13 (15.1%) had MMR-associated fever. Logistic regressions identified associations between MMR-associated fever and HLA Class I loci A-29:02 (P = .036), B-57:01 (P = .018), C-06:02 (P = .006), C-14:02 (P = .022), and Class II loci DRB1-15 (P = .045). However, Bonferroni’s adjustment for multiple comparisons suggests that these associations could have been due to chance. Ninety-eight percent of children had protective antibody titers to measles; however, GMT was higher among those with fever compared with children without fever (P = .006). Fever after the measles vaccine correlated with genetic factors and higher immune response. This study suggests a possible genetic susceptibility to MMR-associated fever.

Authors: Klein, Nicola P; Zerbo, Ousseny; Goddard, Kristin; Wang, Weiqi; Fohner, Alison E; Wiesner, Amy; Shokoohi, Vida; Coller, John; Bok, Karin; Gans, Hayley A

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2021 06 03;17(6):1763-1769. Epub 2020-12-22.

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