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Follow-up of Card Agglutination Trypanosomiasis Test (CATT) positive but apparently aparasitaemic individuals in Côte d'Ivoire: evidence for a complex and heterogeneous population

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The aetiological diagnosis of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is based on the detection of the parasite, but currently available parasitological tests have low sensitivity and are hampered by fluctuating parasitaemia. The identification of seropositive individuals on whom to focus parasitological examination is based on antibody detection by means of the Card Agglutination Trypanosomiasis Test (CATT/T.b.gambiense). A complicating phenomenon is the occurrence of serologically positive but parasitologically unconfirmed results (isolated CATT positivity). This work presents a two-year longitudinal serological, parasitological and molecular follow-up of CATT-positive individuals including repeated examinations of each individual, to study the evolution over time of seropositivity at both the population and the individual levels. At the population level, the rate of seropositivity decreased during the first months of the survey, and afterwards showed remarkable stability. At the individual level, the results reveal the extreme heterogeneity of this population, with subjects showing fluctuating results, others with a short transient CATT positivity, and subjects that maintain their seropositivity over time. The stability of seropositivity and the pattern of results obtained with both immunological and parasitological examinations support the view that individual factors, such as immune response to infection, might be involved in the isolated CATT positivity phenomenon.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-11-01

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