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Predictors of delayed-type hypersensitivity to Candida albicans and anti-epstein-barr virus antibody among children in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


Correspondence to: Katherine Wander, Department of Anthropology, Box 353100, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail:


We evaluated sex, age, nutritional status, and infectious disease (ID) as predictors of two biomarkers of cell-mediated immunity (CMI), delayed-type hypersensitivity to Candida albicans (DTH-Candida), and anti-Epstein-Barr virus antibody (EBV Ab), among 200 children in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. DTH-Candida, which decreases with compromised CMI, was positively associated with age (OR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.57) and triceps skinfold (TSF; OR: 1.16; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.26), and inversely associated with height-for-age Z score (HAZ; OR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.68, 1.08) and diagnosed ID (OR: 0.48; 95% CI: 0.22, 1.08). There was significant interaction between TSF and ID: DTH-Candida exhibited a strong inverse association with ID among children with low TSF (OR: 0.16; 95% CI: 0.05, 0.50) and a strong positive association with TSF among children with ID (OR: 2.64; 95% CI: 1.29, 5.42). EBV Ab, which increases with compromised CMI, was inversely associated with male sex (β: −0.47; 95% CI: −0.70, −0.24) and TSF (β: −0.04; 95% CI: −0.08, 0.00), and positively associated with HAZ (β: 0.06; 95% CI: −0.03, 0.15). Among males, EBV Ab was positively associated with anemia. Among normal HAZ children, EBV Ab was inversely associated with TSF. There was no association between DTH-Candida and EBV Ab. While DTH-Candida provides a direct measure of CMI, our results suggest that interpretation of EBV-Ab among Kilimanjaro children was complicated by its indirect relationship with CMI. Among our sample, CMI increased with age and adequate nutrition and was compromised during acute ID. The suggestive CMI-compromising effect of increasing height-for-age may bear further exploration. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:183–190, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.