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Bull World Health Organ. 1996;74(4):381-6.

IgG4 responses to antigens of adult Necator americanus: potential for use in large-scale epidemiological studies.

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Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Department of Immunology, Washington DC 20307-5100, USA.


Described is an epidemiological investigation of hookworm infections in a rural community in Zimbabwe, where Necator americanus is the only human helminth species present. Among a cohort of 120 individuals the overall prevalence of infection was 78%. Intensity of infection was quantified both as egg counts (range: 0-2563 eggs per g of stool) and worm burden (range: 0-100 worms). Although both these measures provide useful quantitative data, they are tedious to determine in large-scale epidemiological studies and may present social and logistic difficulties. As an alternative screening method, we therefore investigated isotype-specific responses to adult worm antigens of N. americanus. The results show that specific IgG4 responses correlate positively and significantly with both measures of intensity and may be a useful marker of hookworm infection.

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