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J Infect Dis. 2003 May 1;187(9):1460-8. Epub 2003 Apr 9.

Diarrhea incidence and farm-related risk factors for Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter jejuni antibodies among rural children.

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Epidemiology Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449, USA.


Serum samples were obtained from 215 farm-resident children and 396 non-farm-resident children living in a defined rural Wisconsin population. Antibodies to Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia coli O157:H7 lipopolysaccharide (O157 LPS) immunoglobulin G were measured, and the incidence of clinic visits for diarrheal illness was determined. Risk factors were assessed in a telephone interview. There were 363 children (59%) with C. jejuni antibodies (seropositive for >or=2 immunoglobulin classes) and 86 (14%) with O157 LPS antibodies. Increasing age and farm residence were independently associated with C. jejuni seropositivity by multivariate analysis. O157 LPS antibodies were independently associated with increasing age, female sex, manure contact, and sheep contact. The incidence of clinically recognized diarrhea was similar among children with and without antibodies to C. jejuni and O157 LPS, but the clinic visit rate for diarrhea was 46% lower among farm-resident children. These results are consistent with reduced occurrence of clinical illness from repeated antigenic stimulation in a farm environment.

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