A cocktail of recombinant Onchocerca volvulus antigens for serologic diagnosis with the potential to predict the endemicity of onchocerciasis infection.

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  • 1 Department of Biology, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

We report here the evaluation of the potential of a serologic test to determine the endemicity of onchocercal infection in hyper, meso, and hypoendemic communities by the detection of antibodies to a cocktail of recombinant antigens. Parasitologic parameters of infection prevalence and intensity were compared with serologic results. Infection prevalence by serology was consistently but not significantly higher than that defined by parasitology. Differences between the communities defined by microfilarial load (CMFL) and a measurement of Onchocerca volvulus-specific antibody levels (serologic index [SI]) were similar. When stratified by age, differences were more significant in the younger age groups. If a sentinel population of 5-15-year-old individuals was used to compare communities, all could be equally ranked by serologic and parasitologic parameters. The SI of the sentinel population gave a better distinction between each community than the SI of the whole and would be sufficiently sensitive to measure the changes in endemicity that would be required for onchocerciasis control programs.