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Detecting environmental exposures and mitigating their impacts are growing global public health challenges. Antibody tests show great promise and have emerged as fundamental tools for large-scale exposure studies. Here, we apply, demonstrate and validate the utility of a salivary antibody multiplex immunoassay in measuring antibody prevalence and immunoconversions to six pathogens commonly found in the environment. The study aimed to assess waterborne infections in consenting beachgoers recreating at an Iowa riverine beach by measuring immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against select pathogens in serially collected saliva samples. Results showed that nearly 80% of beachgoers had prior exposures to at least one of the targeted pathogens at the beginning of the study. Most of these exposures were to norovirus GI.1 (59.41%), norovirus GII.4 (58.79%) and Toxoplasma gondii (22.80%) and over half (56.28%) of beachgoers had evidence of previous exposure to multiple pathogens. Of individuals who returned samples for each collection period, 6.11% immunoconverted to one or more pathogens, largely to noroviruses (GI.1: 3.82% and GII.4: 2.29%) and T. gondii (1.53%). Outcomes of this effort illustrate that the multiplex immunoassay presented here serves as an effective tool for evaluating health risks by providing valuable information on the occurrence of known and emerging pathogens in population surveillance studies.


Swinburne A J Augustine, Tarsha N Eason, Tim Wade, Shannon M Griffin, Elizabeth Sams, Kaneatra Simmons, Malini Ramudit, Kevin Oshima, Alfred Dufour. Salivary Antibodies against Multiple Environmental Pathogens Found in Individuals Recreating at an Iowa Beach. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021 May 28;18(11)

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PMID: 34071402

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