Effect of Schistosoma mansoni infection and its treatment on antibody responses to measles catch-up immunisation in pre-school children: A randomised trial

Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Tweyongyere R, Nassanga BR, Muhwezi A, Odongo M, Lule SA, Nsubuga RN, Webb EL, Cose SC, Elliott AM

Schistosoma infection is associated with immune modulation that can influence responses to non-schistosome antigens. Vaccine responses may be impaired in S. mansoni-infected individuals. We investigated effects of S. mansoni infection on responses to childhood measles catch-up immunisation and of praziquantel treatment on this outcome in a randomised trial.

The Immune Modulation and Childhood Immunisation (IMoChI) study was based in Entebbe, Uganda. Children aged 3-5 years (193 S. mansoni-infected and 61 uninfected) were enrolled. Infected children were randomised in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive praziquantel 2 weeks before, at time of, or 1 week after, measles catch-up immunisation. Plasma anti-measles IgG was measured at enrolment, 1 week and 24 weeks after measles immunisation. Primary outcomes were IgG levels and percentage of participants with levels considered protective against measles.

Anti-measles IgG levels increased following immunisation, but at 1 week post-immunisation S. mansoni-infected, compared to uninfected, children had lower levels of anti-measles IgG (adjusted geometric mean ratio (aGMR) 0.4 [95% CI 0.2-0.7]) and the percentage with protective antibody levels was also lower (adjusted odds ratio 0.1 [0-0.9]). Among S. mansoni-infected children, anti-measles IgG one week post-immunisation was higher among those treated with praziquantel than among those who were not yet treated (treatment before immunisation, aGMR 2.3 [1.5-4.8]; treatment at immunisation aGMR 1.8 [1.1-3.5]). At 24 weeks post-immunisation, IgG levels did not differ between the trial groups, but tended to be lower among previously-infected children who were still S mansoni stool-positive than among those who became stool-negative.

Our findings suggest that S. mansoni infection among pre-school children is associated with a reduced antibody response to catch-up measles immunisation, and that praziquantel treatment improves the response. S. mansoni infection may contribute to impaired vaccine responses in endemic populations; effective schistosomiasis control may be beneficial for vaccine efficacy. This should be further explored.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis