Short communication: Use of a recombinant antigen-based ELISA to determine prevalence of brugian filariasis among Malaysian schoolchildren near Pasir Mas, Kelantan – Thailand border

Authors


correspondence N. Rahmah, Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

Summary

Brugian filariasis infects 13 million people in Asia. The routine prevalence survey method using night thick blood smear is not sensitive enough to reflect the actual infection prevalence. In 1997–2001, only three microfilaraemic cases (of 5601 individuals screened; 0.05%) were reported in Pasir Mas, a district in Kelantan (Malaysia), which shares a border with Thailand. We therefore investigated the infection prevalence in this district by employing a sensitive and specific serological assay (Brugia-Elisa). This test is based on detection of specific IgG4 antibody against a Brugia malayi recombinant antigen. A total of 5138 children, aged 7–12 years, from 16 primary schools, were tested. Eighteen pupils in eight schools, located in five subdistricts, tested positive, giving an overall prevalence rate of 0.35%. Infection in these children is significant as they represent more recent cases. These subdistricts should be included in the national filariasis elimination programme.

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