Seroprevalence and spatial epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis in American Samoa after successful mass drug administration

Lau, Colleen L., Won, Kimberly Y., Becker, Luke, Magalhaes, Ricardo J. Soares, Fuimaono, Saipale, Melrose, Wayne, Lammie, Patrick J., and Graves, Patricia M. (2014) Seroprevalence and spatial epidemiology of lymphatic filariasis in American Samoa after successful mass drug administration. PLoS Neglected Tropical Disease, 8 (11). e3297. pp. 1-12.

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As part of the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), American Samoa conducted mass drug administration (MDA) from 2000–2006, and passed transmission assessment surveys in 2011–2012. We examined the seroprevalence and spatial epidemiology of LF post-MDA to inform strategies for ongoing surveillance and to reduce resurgence risk.


ELISA for LF antigen (Og4C3) and antibodies (Wb123, Bm14) were performed on a geo-referenced serum bank of 807 adults collected in 2010. Risk factors assessed for association with sero-positivity included age, sex, years lived in American Samoa, and occupation. Geographic clustering of serological indicators was investigated to identify spatial dependence and household-level clustering.


Og4C3 antigen of >128 units (positive) were found in 0.75% (95% CI 0.3–1.6%) of participants, and >32 units (equivocal plus positive) in 3.2% (95% CI 0.6–4.7%). Seroprevalence of Wb123 and Bm14 antibodies were 8.1% (95% CI 6.3–10.2%) and 17.9% (95% CI 15.3–20.7%) respectively. Antigen-positive individuals were identified in all ages, and antibody prevalence higher in older ages. Prevalence was higher in males, and inversely associated with years lived in American Samoa. Spatial distribution of individuals varied significantly with positive and equivocal levels of Og4C3 antigen, but not with antibodies. Using Og4C3 cutoff points of >128 units and >32 units, average cluster sizes were 1,242 m and 1,498 m, and geographical proximity of households explained 85% and 62% of the spatial variation respectively.


High-risk populations for LF in American Samoa include adult males and recent migrants. We identified locations and estimated the size of possible residual foci of antigen-positive adults, demonstrating the value of spatial analysis in post-MDA surveillance. Strategies to monitor cluster residents and high-risk groups are needed to reduce resurgence risk. Further research is required to quantify factors contributing to LF transmission at the last stages of elimination to ensure that programme achievements are sustained.

Item ID: 37081
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1935-2735
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This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Funders: James Cook University, GlaxoSmithKline
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 07:48
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110309 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
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