Socioeconomic correlates of antibody levels to enteric pathogens among Israeli adolescents Academic Article uri icon


  • (Accepted 22 March 2006, first published online 2 June 2006)SUMMARYWe examined the association between socioeconomic status and the level of serum antibodiesto selected faeco-orally transmitted pathogens among Israeli adolescents. Random samples ofeighty volunteers aged 12–15 years from high (HSL), medium (MSL) and low (LSL) standard ofliving towns were included in the study. Serum samples were examined by radioimmunoassayfor HAV and by in-house-developed ELISA systems for IgA and IgG antibody levels againstShigella sonnei, S. flexneri, E. coli O157:H7 lipopolysacchride and Cryptosporidium parvumantigens. Seropositivity to HAV was highest (98.8%) in the LSL towns and lowest (25%) inthe HSL towns, showing a statistically significant linear trend. Antibody levels to the otherenteropathogens had gender variation, with higher titres in females. Significantly lower titres inthe HSL towns were found for: IgA anti-S. sonnei in females (P<0.001); IgG anti-S. sonnei infemales (P=0.024) and males (P=0.033); IgG anti-S. flexneri in females (P=0.016). Inverselinear association with socioeconomic status was found for IgA anti-C. parvum in females(P<0.001); IgA anti-E. coli O157:H7 in females (P<0.001) and males (P=0.024). A statisticallysignificant association between HAV seropositivity and higher titres of IgA anti-S. sonnei andE. coli O157:H7 was shown. In conclusion, exposure to enteropathogens transmitted via thefaecal–oral route in communities of lower socioeconomic status is reflected in a higher prevalenceof lifelong lasting antibodies to HAV, and higher levels of antibodies to bacterial and protozoanenteropathogens. Among females, the levels of specific serum antibodies are higher and morestrongly associated with low socioeconomic status.INTRODUCTIONMost gastrointestinal pathogens are transmitted viathe faecal–oral route. High transmission rates can beexpected in populations of low socioeconomic statususually characterized by low income, high crowded-ness, and increased contact with young children.The increased risk of exposure to such pathogens maybe reflected in a high prevalence of antibodies to theseorganisms attained in the early years of life. Theprevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A virus (HAV)is known to be associated with low socioeconomic

publication date

  • January 1, 2007