Protective immunity to Schistosoma haematobium infection is primarily an anti-fecundity response stimulated by the death of adult worms

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Protective immunity against human schistosome infection develops slowly, for reasons that are not yet fully understood. For many decades, researchers have attempted to infer properties of the immune response from epidemiological studies, with mathematical models frequently being used to bridge the gap between immunological theory and population-level data on schistosome infection and immune responses. Here, building upon earlier model findings, stochastic individual-based models were used to identify model structures consistent with observed field patterns of Schistosoma haematobium infection and antibody responses, including their distributions in cross-sectional surveys, and the observed treatment-induced antibody switch. We found that the observed patterns of infection and antibody were most consistent with models in which a long-lived protective antibody response is stimulated by the death of adult S. haematobium worms and reduces worm fecundity. These findings are discussed with regard to current understanding of human immune responses to schistosome infection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13347–13352
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • acquired immunity
  • immunoepidemiology
  • schistosomiasis


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