Volume 60, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Epidemiologic studies of helminthic infections have shown that susceptibility to these parasites frequently aggregates in families, suggesting the possible involvement of genetic factors. This paper presents a genetic epidemiologic analysis of Ascaris lumbricoides infection in the Jirel population of eastern Nepal. A total of 1,261 individuals belonging to a single pedigree were assessed for intensity of Ascaris infection at two time points. Following an initial assessment in which all individuals were treated with albendazole, a follow-up examination was performed one year later to evaluate reinfection patterns. Three measures of worm burden were analyzed, including eggs per gram of feces, direct worm counts, and worm biomass (weight). For all traits, variance component analysis of the familial data provided unequivocal evidence for a strong genetic component accounting for between 30% and 50% of the variation in worm burden. Shared environmental (i.e., common household) effects account for between 3% and 13% of the total phenotypic variance.


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