Research Article

Epidemiology and immunology of Necator americanus infection in a community in Papua New Guinea: humoral responses to excretory-secretory and cuticular collagen antigens

D. I. Pritcharda1, R. J. Quinnella1 p1, A. F. G. Slatera1 p2, P. G. McKeana1, D. D. S. Dalea1 p1, A. Raikoa1 p3 and A. E. Keymera1 p1

a1 Department of Zoology, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD


Baseline data from an immuno-epidemiological study of hookworm infection in a rural village in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea are reported. Necator americanus was found to be the commonest helminth infection, with a prevalence of near 100% and intensity of 40 worms per host in adults. Enterobius vermicularis, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were also present, at prevalences of 53, 10 and 3% respectively; Ancylostoma duodenale was absent. The frequency distribution of N. americanus was highly over-dispersed, and was well described by a negative binomial distribution with aggregation parameter, k, of 0·370. Intensity of infection was significantly related to host age, but did not differ between the sexes. Haemoglobin levels and haematocrit values were indicative of anaemia in the community, but were unrelated to hookworm infection. Levels of antibodies (IgG, IgA and 1gM combined) against adult Necator cuticular collagen and excretory-secretory (ES) products were determined.

(Accepted August 10 1989)


p1 Department of Zoology, South Parks Road, Oxford OXI 3PS.

p2 Laboratory of Medical Biochemistry, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York 10021–6399

p3 Institute for Medical Research, PO Box 378, Madang, Papua New Guinea.