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Patterns in age-seroprevalence consistent with acquired immunity against Trypanosoma brucei in Serengeti lions

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e347
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Trypanosomes cause disease in humans and livestock throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Although various species show evidence of clinical tolerance to trypanosomes, until now there has been no evidence of acquired immunity to natural infections. We discovered a distinct peak and decrease in age prevalence of T. brucei s.l. infection in wild African lions that is consistent with being driven by an exposure-dependent increase in cross-immunity following infections with the more genetically diverse species, T. congolense sensu latu. The causative agent of human sleeping sickness, T. brucei rhodesiense, disappears by 6 years of age apparently in response to cross-immunity from other trypanosomes, including the non-pathogenic subspecies, T. brucei brucei. These findings may suggest novel pathways for vaccinations against trypanosomiasis despite the notoriously complex antigenic surface proteins in these parasites.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Adaptive Immunity, Lions, Disease Susceptibility, Trees, Humans, Aging, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Trypanosomiasis, African, Africa South of the Sahara, Animals, Wild, Ecosystem, Survival Rate, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Tsetse Flies, Survivors, Models, Theoretical, Proportional Hazards Models

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