Age-specific population immunity to many vaccine-preventable diseases can be measured using serological surveys. However, stand-alone serological surveys are infrequently conducted in low- and middle-income countries because of costs, operational challenges, and potential high refusal rates for blood collection. Nesting a serosurvey within a household cluster survey may overcome some of these challenges. We share lessons learned from nesting a serosurvey within a measles and rubella vaccination post-campaign coverage evaluation survey (PCES). In 15 of the 26 PCES clusters in Southern Province, Zambia, we collected dried blood spots from 581 participants aged 9 months and older. Household participation rates for the main PCES were higher in the serosurvey clusters (86%) than PCES-only clusters (71%), suggesting that a serosurvey can be successfully integrated without adversely affecting PCES participation. Among households that participated in the PCES, 80% also participated in the serosurvey and 86% of individuals available in the household provided a blood sample for the serosurvey. Substantial planning and coordination, additional staff training, and community mobilization were critical to the success of the serosurvey. Most challenges stemmed from using different data collecting tools and teams for the serosurvey and PCES. A more efficient design would be to fully integrate the serosurvey by adding blood collection and additional questions to the PCES.
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Copyright © 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.