Sero-Epidemiological Survey of Human Cystic Echinococcosis in Kashmir, North India

Citation: Fomda BA, Khan A, Thokar MA, Malik AA, Fazili A, Dar RA, et al. (2015) Sero-Epidemiological Survey of Human Cystic Echinococcosis in Kashmir, North India. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124813. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124813
Published: April 27, 2015

Abstract
Echinococcus granulosusBackground: Echinococcosis is a human and animal health problem in many endemic areas worldwide. There are numerous reports and hospital-based studies from Kashmir, North India, yet there has been no epidemiological study conducted in Kashmir, the apparently endemic area for human hydatidosis. This study was designed to determine the seroprevalence of hydatid infection in Kashmir Valley and to find out association of risk factors for acquisition of this infection.
Methodology: Fourteen hundred and twenty-nine samples were collected from different districts in the Kashmir region (North India) using systematic random sampling. The 130 control samples included were from apparently healthy blood donors (100), patients with other parasitic infections (20), surgically confirmed hydatidosis patients (5), and apparently healthy subjects excluded for hydatidosis and intestinal parasitic infections (5). Hydatid-specific IgG antibody was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and seropositive samples were analysed further by Western blotting.
Results: Out of 1,429 samples, 72 (5.03%) were IgG positive by ELISA. The percentage occurrence of the highly immunoreactive antigenic fractions in IgG ELISA positive samples was 57 kDa (72.2%) followed by 70 kDa (66.7%) and 39kDa (58.3%) by immunoblotting. Samples with other parasitic infections were reactive with the cluster of 54-59 kDa antigenic fractions. Age <15 years, male gender, contact with dog, and rural residence were the most significant factors associated with the seropositivity.
Conclusion: The study revealed that 72 (5.03%) out of 1,429 subjects asymptomatic for hydatidosis were seropositve to E.granulosus antigen by ELISA. Western blot analysis of 72 ELISA seropositive samples showed that 66.7% and 58.3% of samples were immunoreactive with 70 and 39kDa specific antigenic fractions, respectively. The seropositivity was significantly higher (5.79%) in the younger age group (<15 years) as compared to the 16-55 years (4.07%) and > 55 years (3.05%) age groups, suggesting ongoing transmission of this infection in the younger age group. The number of seropositive males was significantly higher as compared to females. The risk factors identified were rural residence and contact with dogs. The study suggests the presence of asymptomatic infection in subjects in Kashmir, North India, and efforts need to be made for implementation of effective prevention measures to reduce the infection burden, which may otherwise lead to symptomatology and complications in the infected subjects.

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