Age-Specific Prevalence of Antigenemia in a Wuchereria Bancrofti-Exposed Population

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  • Parasitic Diseases Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
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Antigen detection assays serve as a useful adjunct to blood examinations for studies of filariasis, in terms of the diagnostic and epidemiologic information provided. We examined the utility of the Og4C3 antigen detection enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for field studies and analyzed the distribution of Wuchereria bancrofti antigenemia in a Haitian population. Using serum samples collected following venipuncture, antigenemia levels were correlated with microfilaremia (P < 0.001). The microfilariae had a pronounced nocturnal periodicity while the sensitivity of the antigen assay was the same whether serum samples were collected during the day or at night. To determine whether the Og4C3 assay could be used in conjunction with fingerprick blood examinations, nocturnal blood surveys were conducted. Of 419 persons surveyed, 207 (49.4%) were antigen-positive with the Og4C3 assay. Serum specimens from all 121 microfilaremic individuals were antigen positive (100% sensitivity). The age prevalence of antigenemia increased from 24.5% for 1–5-year-old children to 70% for persons greater than 50 years of age. These results demonstrate that the Og4C3 assay is a sensitive tool for the detection of infection and raise questions about the expression of protective immunity in populations exposed to infection.