We used a solid-phase enzyme immunoassay to determine the age-specific rates of acquisition of antibody to Giardia lamblia in populations living in an inner city area of Baltimore, Md., on an Apache Indian reservation in Arizona, in a rural area of Panama, and in an urban area of Peru (Lima). Antibody to G. lamblia was found in a portion of the adults living in all of the study areas. Similar prevalence rates and quantitative levels of antibody were found in the adults living in Arizona (44%), Panama (48%), and Peru (46%). However, a significantly lower (P<0.05) percentage of the adults living in Baltimore (18%) displayed serological evidence of infection. Different patterns of age-associated acquisition of antibody were noted in the study populations. In the United States, children living in Baltimore had low levels of seropositivity throughout childhood, whereas children living on the Arizona Indian reservation showed a progressive acquisition of antibody early in childhood, with audlt levels achieved by 8 years of age. In Latin America, children living in Panama attained adult levels of seropositivity in the first 6 months of life. Our findings documented the widespread occurrence of G. lamblia infections in diverse populations. Children living in different areas and under different environmental conditions displayed widely differing rates of acquisition of antibody to G. lamblia, possibly resulting from different levels of sanitation, water contamination, and person-to-person contact. Our studies indicate that quantitative solid-phase immunoassays can be used to study the epidemiology of parasitic infections such as those caused by G. lamblia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)