Prevalance of IgM antibodies to phenolic glycolipid I among household contacts and controls in Korea and the Philippines

S. N. Cho, S. H. Kim, R. V. Cellona, G. P. Chan, T. T. Fajardo, G. P. Walsh, J. D. Kim

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Phenolic glycolipid I (PGL-I) is a Mycobacterium leprae-specific antigen and the antibodies to the antigen may suggest an M leprae infection. To compare the M. leprae transmission among the populations, we compared the prevalence of anti-PGL-I IgM antibodies among household contacts and controls between Korea and the Philippines. In Korea (prevalence of leprosy- 0.04:1000), the prevalence of anti-PGL-I antibodies were 4.8% among controls and 8.0% among contacts, respectively. On the other hand, the seroprevalence rate was 10.8% among controls and 13.4% among contacts in the Philippines (prevalence of leprosy-0.70:1000). Interestingly, a marked difference was noted in the prevalance of anti-PGL-I antibodies among children between the countries; 10-14% among children under 10 years old and 15-18% among those aged between 10 and 19 in the Philippines compared to 0% and 2.9-6.4% in Korea, respectively. This study, therefore suggests that a high prevalance of anti-PGL-I IgM antibodies among children may indicate an active transmission of M. leprae, resulting in a higher incidence of leprosy in the population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalLeprosy Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

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