The Immunoepidemiology of Hookworm Infection in the Peruvian Amazon
Hookworm infection caused by Ancylostoma duodenale or Necator americanus is a significant global health threat, causing chronic anemia, malnutrition, developmental delay, enteritis, and increased susceptibility to non-parasitic diseases. One of the most prevalent of the neglected tropical diseases, hookworm infection affects almost 1 billion people worldwide, particularly in developing countries. Current methods for diagnosis and treatment of hookworm infection are largely the same as they have been for the past century. However, several recent advances in the molecular characterization of hookworm virulence factors now provide researchers with an improved understanding of disease pathogenesis, potential targets for treatment and novel antigens for vaccine development. In order to better understand hookworm pathophysiology and immunology in human populations, a comprehensive, cross-sectional immunoepidemiologic survey of approximately 200 villagers in a remote area of the Peruvian Amazon was conducted. Hookworm prevalence rates were found to approach 40% by microscopic diagnosis. Additionally, molecular speciation techniques showed that both A. duodenale and N. americanus are endemic to this region. Reagents from a laboratory model of hookworm disease were then utilized to characterize human immune responses to hookworm specific antigens. By studying the immunoepidemiology of an endemic community we have found that a laboratory strain of hookworm, Anyclostoma ceylanicum, is a useful tool for describing species specific immune responses to disease. This work lays the foundation for future development of improved hookworm diagnostic techniques by molecular and immunologic methods.
School Location:USA - Connecticut
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:hookworm infections ancylostoma necator americanus anemia peru
Date of Publication:04/09/2008