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Infect Immun. 1989 Aug;57(8):2542-6.

Immune response to Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli in a cohort of children from birth to 2 years of age.

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Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Central African Republic.


A cohort of 111 children from Bangui, Central African Republic, was surveyed for enteric Campylobacter infections from birth to the age of 2 years; stools were examined biweekly in these children until 6 months of age and at least four times per year thereafter until 2 years of age and after each diarrheal episode. Blood samples were obtained at birth and at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months of age. Antibodies against glycine-extracted membrane antigens, purified flagella, and cholera toxin (CT) were assayed by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed that titers of antibody against the three tested antigens increased in children between 6 and 12 months of age and that nearly all children were immunized by the age of 2 years. A significant fall in anti-flagellum (P less than 0.001) and anti-glycine extract antibodies (P less than 0.001) occurred between birth and age 3 months, and children who had Campylobacter infections during the first 6 months of life had significantly (P less than 0.02) less anti-flagellum antibodies at birth than did those who did not have Campylobacter infections during that time. Three-month-interval stratification showed that CT antibody titers at birth were significantly lower in children who developed Campylobacter infection than in controls (P = 0.05). Comparison of the immune response to a single Campylobacter episode showed that 46.6% of children with asymptomatic carriage did not respond to CT while only 5% of children with diarrhea-producing infection did not respond to CT (P less than 0.01), compared with 30% (P = 0.065) and 56% (P less than 0.01), respectively, of the age-matched controls. Antibodies to flagella seem to protect against enteric colonization by Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli.

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