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J Infect Dis. 2005 Feb 15;191(4):562-70. Epub 2005 Jan 14.

Serologic correlates of protection against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli diarrhea.

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Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland 20910-7500, USA.



We conducted a nested case-control study in 397 rural Egyptian children <36 months of age to assess the correlation between serum levels of antibodies against toxin and colonization factors (CFs) and the risk of homologous enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) diarrhea.


Active case detection was performed via semiweekly home visits, and blood was obtained at 3-month intervals. After each serosurvey, case subjects were selected from children experiencing a CF antigen (CFA)/I-, CFA/II-, CFA/IV-, or heat-labile enterotoxin (LT)-ETEC diarrheal episode during the subsequent 3 months. Up to 5 control subjects per case subject were selected from children who did not experience an ETEC diarrheal episode during the corresponding interval. Serum titers of immunoglobulin G antibodies against CFA/I, coli surface antigen (CS) 3, CS6, and LT were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay.


The distribution of serum titers of LT, CS3, and CS6 antibodies did not differ between the case and control subjects. For children <18 months of age, serum titers of CFA/I antibody were inversely related to the risk of CFA/I-ETEC diarrhea; reciprocal serum titers of CFA/I antibody > or =76 were associated with a 77% reduction in the odds of CFA/I-ETEC diarrhea.


Induction of reciprocal serum titers of antibodies against CFA/I within or above the 76-186 range should be further evaluated as a predictor for assessment of the ability of candidate vaccines to protect against CFA/I-ETEC diarrhea.

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