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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2014 May 29;8(5):e2908. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002908. eCollection 2014.

Exposure to multiple parasites is associated with the prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy in sub-Saharan Africa.

Author information

  • 1KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Studies of the Epidemiology of Epilepsy in Demographic Surveillance Systems (SEEDS)-INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana.
  • 2Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; MRC Tropical Epidemiology Group, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.
  • 3KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Egerton University, Nakuru, Kenya.
  • 4KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Studies of the Epidemiology of Epilepsy in Demographic Surveillance Systems (SEEDS)-INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana; Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
  • 5Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
  • 6Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
  • 7KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Studies of the Epidemiology of Epilepsy in Demographic Surveillance Systems (SEEDS)-INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana; Research Support Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aga Khan University (East Africa), Nairobi, Kenya.
  • 8KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya.
  • 9MRC/Wits Rural Public Health & Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
  • 10Studies of the Epidemiology of Epilepsy in Demographic Surveillance Systems (SEEDS)-INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana; Iganga-Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance System, Iganga, Uganda; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda.
  • 11Kintampo Health Research Centre, Kintampo, Ghana.
  • 12Ifakara Health Institute, Ifakara, Tanzania.
  • 13Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland; Unversity of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
  • 14KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Programme, The Centre of Geographical Medicine Research - Coast, Kilifi, Kenya; Studies of the Epidemiology of Epilepsy in Demographic Surveillance Systems (SEEDS)-INDEPTH Network, Accra, Ghana; Neurosciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom; Clinical Research Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Epilepsy is common in developing countries, and it is often associated with parasitic infections. We investigated the relationship between exposure to parasitic infections, particularly multiple infections and active convulsive epilepsy (ACE), in five sites across sub-Saharan Africa.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

A case-control design that matched on age and location was used. Blood samples were collected from 986 prevalent cases and 1,313 age-matched community controls and tested for presence of antibodies to Onchocerca volvulus, Toxocara canis, Toxoplasma gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, Taenia solium and HIV. Exposure (seropositivity) to Onchocerca volvulus (OR = 1.98; 95%CI: 1.52-2.58, p<0.001), Toxocara canis (OR = 1.52; 95%CI: 1.23-1.87, p<0.001), Toxoplasma gondii (OR = 1.28; 95%CI: 1.04-1.56, p = 0.018) and higher antibody levels (top tertile) to Toxocara canis (OR = 1.70; 95%CI: 1.30-2.24, p<0.001) were associated with an increased prevalence of ACE. Exposure to multiple infections was common (73.8% of cases and 65.5% of controls had been exposed to two or more infections), and for T. gondii and O. volvulus co-infection, their combined effect on the prevalence of ACE, as determined by the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI), was more than additive (T. gondii and O. volvulus, RERI = 1.19). The prevalence of T. solium antibodies was low (2.8% of cases and 2.2% of controls) and was not associated with ACE in the study areas.

CONCLUSION:

This study investigates how the degree of exposure to parasites and multiple parasitic infections are associated with ACE and may explain conflicting results obtained when only seropositivity is considered. The findings from this study should be further validated.

PMID:
24875312
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4038481
Free PMC Article
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