Measles Antibody (IgG)

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Measles Antibody IgG, Rubeola, IgG

Measles Antibody (IgG)

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The Measles Antibody (IgG) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Measles IgG Antibody test is a laboratory test used to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against the measles virus in a person's blood. This test aids in diagnosing previous measles infection or determining immunity to the virus.

Also Known As: Rubeola Test, Measles Virus Test, Measles Titer test

Collection Method: Blood draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Measles Antibody IgG test ordered?

A Measles IgG Antibody test may be ordered in the following situations:

  1. Immunity Assessment: The test is commonly performed to assess a person's immunity to measles. It is often ordered for individuals who have not received the measles vaccine or have an unknown vaccination history. The test helps determine if they have developed antibodies against the virus and are protected.

  2. Diagnosis Confirmation: The test can also be used to confirm a suspected case of measles. It is particularly useful when a person presents with typical symptoms of measles, such as high fever, cough, runny nose, rash, and red eyes, but laboratory confirmation is needed.

What does a a Measles Antibody IgG blood test check for?

The viruses that cause measles and mumps belong to the Paramyxoviridae family. They both induce infections that normally go away within a few days, but in rare situations, they might lead to significant problems. Both can be avoided by being vaccinated. Antibodies developed in response to infection may be detected in the blood during measles and mumps testing. In addition, employing culture or a molecular approach such as polymerase chain reaction, the virus or its genetic material can be detected directly in a sample. These techniques can be used to a wide range of samples.

The number of instances of measles and mumps infections in the United States has dropped from several hundred thousand to a few hundred per year. Comprehensive measles and mumps immunization campaigns are to blame for the declines. While vaccines exist for each virus, combination vaccines, such as MMR, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella all at once, are commonly used. In recent years, the majority of new cases in the United States have occurred in rare outbreaks, mostly among persons who have not been vaccinated, particularly those who have gone to places of the world where measles or mumps are more common.

Rubeola, often known as measles, is a highly contagious viral infection spread through respiratory secretions. The virus infects cells in the lungs and back of the throat, causing symptoms such as a fever that is high, red eyes, a dry cough, sensitivity to light, a sore throat, runny nose tiny white spots inside the mouth, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the body after 1 to 2 weeks.

The majority of patients recover in a few weeks, but up to 20% of them experience consequences such as ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, or, in rare cases, encephalitis or blindness. People who are malnourished, deficient in vitamin A, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected. Women who are pregnant and infected with measles are more likely to have a miscarriage or go into labor prematurely.

Vaccination has greatly reduced the number of persons infected with measles in the United States and many other countries of the world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) still considers measles to be a top cause of mortality in children under the age of five. Measles killed roughly 145,700 individuals worldwide in 2013, according to their estimates, the majority of whom were youngsters under the age of five.

The outcome of the immunization campaign In the United States, endemic measles was declared eradicated in 2000. Small outbreaks, however, continue to occur on a yearly basis. The majority of cases occur in people who are either unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown, and most outbreaks are linked to travel to locations where measles outbreaks are happening.

According to the CDC, 911 cases of measles were reported from 63 outbreaks between 2001 and 2011. With almost 600 cases recorded in 2014, the United States experienced the greatest number of measles cases in 20 years. Many were linked to visitors who had visited the Philippines, where there had been an unusually significant outbreak of over 50,000 cases.

The CDC, as well as the medical communities in the United States and around the world, remain worried and watchful. Measles is still endemic in many parts of the world, there is always the possibility of travelers spreading the disease, and small percentages of the population remain unvaccinated.

Lab tests often ordered with a Measles Antibody IgG test:

  • When a Measles IgG Antibody test is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of immune status or in response to a suspected measles infection or exposure. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  • Measles IgM Antibody Test:

    • Purpose: To detect recent or active measles infection.
    • Why Is It Ordered: IgM antibodies are typically the first to respond to an infection. If someone has symptoms of measles or recent exposure, the IgM test can help confirm an active or recent infection.
  • Rubella IgG and IgM Antibody Tests:

    • Purpose: To assess immunity to rubella, another viral infection with symptoms similar to measles.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To ensure immunity to rubella, especially in pregnant women, as rubella can cause serious birth defects if contracted during pregnancy.
  • Mumps IgG Tests:

    • Purpose: To determine immunity to mumps.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Mumps, like measles and rubella, is a common childhood illness, and immunity to it is often assessed alongside measles and rubella as part of a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV) Antibody Tests:

    • Purpose: To check for immunity to chickenpox and shingles.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Varicella-zoster virus can cause diseases with rash and fever, similar to measles. Determining immunity is especially important in healthcare settings and for certain travel vaccinations.
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: Provides a broad picture of overall blood health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To detect signs of infection or abnormalities in the blood that may be associated with a viral infection like measles.
  • Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Measles can affect the liver, so liver enzymes may be checked, especially if there are symptoms indicating liver involvement.
  • Other Immunization Titers:

    • Purpose: To assess immunity to other vaccine-preventable diseases.
    • Why Is It Ordered: In certain cases, such as for healthcare workers or before traveling, it may be necessary to assess overall vaccination status and immunity to various diseases.
  • These tests, when ordered alongside a Measles IgG Antibody test, provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s immune status and help in diagnosing current or past infections, assessing vaccine-induced immunity, and making decisions about future vaccinations or other preventive measures. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s health history, potential exposures, and vaccination status.

Conditions where a Measles Antibody IgG test is recommended:

A Measles IgG Antibody test is typically ordered in the following scenarios:

  1. Immunity Assessment: Individuals who have not received the measles vaccine or have an unknown vaccination history may undergo the test to determine if they have developed immunity to the virus.

  2. Suspected Measles Infection: The test may be ordered when a person presents with symptoms suggestive of measles, such as high fever, rash, and respiratory symptoms. It helps confirm the diagnosis of measles by detecting specific antibodies against the virus.

How does my health care provider use a Measles Antibody IgG test?

Health care providers use the results of a Measles IgG Antibody test in the following ways:

  1. Immunity Assessment: A positive result indicates the presence of IgG antibodies, suggesting immunity to the measles virus. This provides reassurance that the person is protected against future measles infections.

  2. Diagnosis Confirmation: In suspected cases of measles, a positive result for IgG antibodies, along with compatible symptoms and a clinical history, supports a diagnosis of measles.

  3. Vaccination Guidance: If a person tests negative for measles IgG antibodies and lacks a documented history of vaccination, it may be recommended for them to receive the measles vaccine to establish immunity.

It is important to note that the interpretation of results should be done in consultation with a healthcare provider. Clinical presentation, vaccination history, and additional laboratory tests may be considered to arrive at an accurate diagnosis or assess immunity to the measles virus.

What do my Measles IgG Antibody test results mean?

When IgM antibodies to measles are present in someone who hasn't been vaccinated recently, it's likely that they have a current measles infection. When both IgM and IgG antibodies are present, or there is a fourfold increase in concentrations between acute and convalescent IgG antibody testing, it is likely that the person is now infected or has recently been infected with measles.

When a person who has been vaccinated and/or is not currently ill possesses measles IgG antibodies, that individual is protected from infection. A person is not deemed immune to the virus if they do not have measles IgG antibodies. This could be due to the fact that the person hasn't been exposed to the virus, the IgG hasn't had enough time to mature, or the person doesn't have a typical antibody response.

Most Common Questions About the Measles IgG Antibody test:

Understanding the Measles IgG Antibody Test

What is the Measles IgG Antibody test?

The Measles IgG Antibody test is a blood test that looks for IgG antibodies in response to the measles virus. These antibodies can indicate a past exposure to measles, either through infection or vaccination.

Why is the Measles IgG Antibody test done?

This test is done to confirm immunity to measles. This could be in situations such as pre-employment screening for healthcare workers, pre-pregnancy checkups, or prior to travel to areas with known measles outbreaks.

What does a positive result on the Measles IgG Antibody test mean?

A positive result generally means that the person is immune to measles, either through vaccination or past exposure to the disease.

What does a negative result on the Measles IgG Antibody test mean?

A negative result indicates that the person tested does not have detectable measles antibodies and is likely susceptible to measles infection.

Interpreting Measles IgG Antibody Test Results

Can a Measles IgG Antibody test differentiate between immunity due to vaccination and immunity due to past infection?

No, this test detects the presence of measles antibodies, but it does not differentiate between antibodies formed due to vaccination or natural infection.

How accurate is the Measles IgG Antibody test in identifying immunity to measles?

The Measles IgG Antibody test is highly sensitive and specific, making it an accurate method for identifying immunity to measles. However, like all tests, there is a small chance of false positives or negatives.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used to diagnose a current measles infection?

Not typically. While the test can detect antibodies produced in response to measles infection, these usually aren't present until several days after the onset of symptoms. For an active measles infection, a different type of test, like viral culture or PCR, is typically used.

Measles IgG Antibody Test and Specific Conditions

Is the Measles IgG Antibody test recommended for pregnant women?

Yes, particularly for women who don't know their measles immunity status. If a woman is not immune, she could contract measles during pregnancy, which can cause complications.

Why might the Measles IgG Antibody test be recommended for healthcare workers?

Healthcare workers are at a higher risk of exposure to infectious diseases, including measles. Therefore, confirming their immunity status helps protect both them and their patients from infection.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used in infants?

Yes, but it should be noted that babies born to immune mothers typically have maternal antibodies for several months after birth. Therefore, testing during this period might show a positive result due to these maternal antibodies.

General Questions About the Test

Can I still contract measles if my Measles IgG Antibody test is positive?

While a positive test indicates immunity to measles, no test is 100% accurate, and no immunity is 100% effective. However, the likelihood of contracting measles after a positive test is extremely low.

If my Measles IgG Antibody test is negative, should I get vaccinated?

Yes, if you are not immune to measles and there's no medical contraindication, you should consider getting the measles vaccine to protect yourself from the disease.

Can other conditions affect the result of a Measles IgG Antibody test?

Yes, certain conditions, such as immunodeficiency disorders, can affect the body's ability to produce antibodies and thus affect the results of the test.

Understanding Measles and Immunity

If I've had the measles vaccine, will the Measles IgG Antibody test be positive?

Yes, the measles vaccine causes your immune system to produce antibodies against the virus, so the test should be positive if you're immune.

Can a person have a false-positive or false-negative Measles IgG Antibody test?

Yes, false positives or negatives can occur, though they're rare. A false positive might be due to cross-reactivity with other viral antibodies, while a false negative could occur if the test is done too soon after vaccination or infection.

How long after vaccination will the Measles IgG Antibody test show a positive result?

It usually takes a few weeks after vaccination for your body to produce enough antibodies to be detected by the test.

What is the lifespan of measles IgG antibodies? Do they decrease over time?

Measles IgG antibodies are usually lifelong in individuals who have been infected or vaccinated. These antibodies provide long-term immunity against measles.

How often should I get the Measles IgG Antibody test if I'm a healthcare worker?

There's no standard recommendation for how often healthcare workers should be tested. However, testing may be done if there's a suspected exposure or outbreak of measles in the healthcare setting.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used to confirm an outbreak of measles?

This test can help confirm individual immunity status, but it's not typically used to confirm an outbreak. Outbreak confirmation usually relies on identifying active cases through symptoms and diagnostic testing.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used to determine the need for a booster vaccine?

In some cases, yes. If the test indicates that measles antibodies aren't present, a booster vaccine may be recommended.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used in immunocompromised patients?

Yes, but the results need to be interpreted with caution as some immunocompromised individuals may not mount a typical antibody response.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test be used in people who have had an allergic reaction to the measles vaccine?

Yes, the test can help determine if the person developed immunity to measles despite the reaction.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test predict the severity of a potential measles infection?

No, the test cannot predict the severity of a potential measles infection. It only indicates if a person has immunity to the virus.

Does a positive Measles IgG Antibody test mean I'm immune to other viruses in the same family as measles?

No, a positive test only indicates immunity to the measles virus. Other viruses in the Paramyxoviridae family, which includes measles, require their own specific tests for immunity.

Can the Measles IgG Antibody test provide information about my overall immune system function?

While the test can confirm your immune system's response to measles specifically, it does not provide comprehensive information about the overall function of your immune system.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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