Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

Predisposition to Trichuris trichiura infection in humans

D. A. P. Bundya1, E. S. Coopera1, D. E. Thompsona2, J. M. Didiera2, R. M. Andersona1 and I. Simmonsa3

a1 Parasite Epidemiology Research Group, Department of Pure & Applied Biology, Imperial College, University of London, London SW7 2BB

a2 Parasite Epidemiology Project, PO Box 306, Castries, St Lucia

a3 Victoria Hospital, Ministry of Health, Castries, St Lucia


The study examines the distribution of Trichuris trichiura infection in a village community in St Lucia, West Indies. The infection intensity of the same age-stratified population was assessed (by drug expelled worm burden and faecal egg count) at the initiation of the study, and after 17 months of reinfection following treatment. The frequency distribution of worm numbers per person was similar at both periods of sampling. There was a significant correlation between the initial infection intensity of an individual, and the intensity acquired by the same individual following the 17 month period of reinfection. This relationship was observed in a broad range of host age classes. The study provides firm evidence that individuals are predisposed to heavy (or light) T. trichiura infection.

(Accepted September 08 1986)