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Exposure, infection and immune responses to Schistosoma haematobium in young children

  • M. E. J. WOOLHOUSE (a1), F. MUTAPI (a2), P. D. NDHLOVU (a3), S. K. CHANDIWANA (a3) and P. HAGAN (a4)
  • Published online: 01 January 2000

Behavioural, parasitological and immunological data were obtained from 48 children up to 6 years old, resident in a Schistosoma haematobium endemic area in Zimbabwe. The children averaged more than 1 contact with infective water bodies every 3 days and all showed immunological evidence of exposure (an anti-cercarial and/or anti-egg antibody response). IgM was the dominant isotype and appeared in the youngest children, followed by IgA, IgE and IgG3. However, only 38 children showed evidence of infection (an anti-egg response or eggs in urine) and only 14 were excreting eggs. The best estimates from these data are that less than 1 in 100 contacts result in infection and less than 1 in 1000 result in egg output. This suggests that there may be substantial attrition of invading cercaria even in naïve individuals.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Centre for Veterinary Tropical Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG, Scotland. Tel/Fax: +0131 6506264. E-mail:
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  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
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