BACKGROUND: Immunity that reduces worm fecundity and, in turn, reduces morbidity is proposed for Schistosoma haematobium, a parasite of major public health importance. Mathematical models of epidemiological trends suggest that antifecundity immunity is dependent on antibody responses to adult-worm-derived antigen. METHODS: For a Malian cohort (age, 5-29 years) residing in high-transmission fishing villages or a moderate-transmission village, worm fecundity was assessed using the ratio of urinary egg excretion to levels of circulating anodic antigen, a Schistosoma-specific antigen that is steadily secreted by adult worms. Fecundity was modeled against host age, infection transmission intensity, and antibody responses specific to soluble worm antigen (SWA), tegument allergen-like 1, and 28-kDa glutathione-S-transferase. RESULTS: Worm fecundity declined steadily until a host age of 11 years. Among children, host age and transmission were negatively associated with worm fecundity. A significant interaction term between host age and transmission indicates that antifecundity immunity develops earlier in high-transmission areas. SWA immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) levels explained the effect of transmission on antifecundity immunity. CONCLUSION: Antifecundity immunity, which is likely to be protective against severe morbidity, develops rapidly during childhood. Antifecundity immunity is associated with SWA-IgG1, with higher infection transmission increasing this response at an earlier age, leading to earlier development of antifecundity immunity.
Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2014, Vol 210, Issue 12, p. 2009-2016