Serological responses to Cryptosporidium in human populations living in areas reporting high and low incidences of symptomatic cryptosporidiosis

K. Elwin, R. M. Chalmers, S. J. Hadfield, S. Hughes, L. M. Hesketh, M. M. Rothburn, T. Muller, Paul R. Hunter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


One approach to investigating differences in the reported incidence of disease is to measure the extent of exposure to the organism in question by testing for a specific antibody response. IgG responses to Cryptosporidium sporozoite antigens of low molecular size in adults have been shown to be consistent and of sufficient intensity to act as reliable markers of exposure. This study used a western blot procedure to investigate the relative intensity of IgG antibody responses to the 15/17-kDa Cryptosporidium sporozoite antigen complex and the 27-kDa antigen in sera from two cities in north-west England: Liverpool (low numbers of clinical cases reported) and Preston (high numbers reported). The intensity of antibody response to the 15/17-kDa antigen complex was significantly greater in the Liverpool sera, but there was no significant difference in intensity of response to the 27-kDa antigen. The relationship between diagnosed and reported cryptosporidiosis infections and infections identified by serological testing is complex, but could indicate a protective effect resulting from either exposure to non-pathogenic strains or from repeated low-level exposure to pathogenic strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1185
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for funding this study. PRH is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Public Health and Water Research, and has received grant funding and undertaken consultancy work for various water utilities.


  • Antibody response
  • Cryptosporidium
  • IgG
  • Prevalence
  • Serological testing
  • Westernblot


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