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Epidemiology and immunology of Necator americanus infection in a community in Papua New Guinea: humoral responses to excretory-secretory and cuticular collagen antigens.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • David Idris Pritchard
  • R. J. Quinnell
  • A. F. Slater
  • Paul G. McKean
  • D. D. Dale
  • A. Raiko
  • A. E. Keymer
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1990
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)317-326
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Baseline data from an immuno-epidemiological study of hookworm infection in a rural village in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea are reported. Necator americanus was found to be the commonest helminth infection, with a prevalence of near 100% and intensity of 40 worms per host in adults. Enterobius vermicularis, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were also present, at prevalences of 53, 10 and 3% respectively; Ancylostoma duodenale was absent. The frequency distribution of N. americanus was highly over-dispersed, and was well described by a negative binomial distribution with aggregation parameter, k, of 0.370. Intensity of infection was significantly related to host age, but did not differ between the sexes. Haemoglobin levels and haematocrit values were indicative of anaemia in the community, but were unrelated to hookworm infection. Levels of antibodies (IgG, IgA and IgM combined) against adult Necator cuticular collagen and excretory-secretory (ES) products were determined. Serum concentrations of the two types of antibody were significantly correlated with each other. Significant positive correlations were found between anti-ES antibody levels and hookworm egg production, and between anti-collagen antibody levels and host age. It is suggested that the level of anti-collagen antibodies may reflect cumulative exposure to infection, whereas levels of anti-ES antibodies may be more dependent on current worm burden. No evidence was found to suggest that either antibody response is important in regulating parasite population growth. Similarly, the presence of a positive correlation between eosinophil concentration and infection intensity in adults indicates that eosinophilia reflects, rather than determines, the host's worm burden.