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Objectives: To determine baseline antibody responses to H and O antigens of Salmonella typhi
and Salmonella paratyphi (A, B and C) in school aged Nigerian children.
Design: Cross-sectional study involving 175 children. Using both rapid slide and tube
agglutination techniques in dilutions of sera (1:20 to 1:320), agglutination reactions with
various antigens were determined.
Setting: Community based study involving primary school pupils in Benin City.
Subjects: Apparently healthy school children (5-16 years) selected systematically, using
multistage sampling technique.
Results: No subject demonstrated agglutination to any of antigens at 1: 320 dilution. Two
(1.1%), 26 (14.9%), 85 (33.1%) and 51 (29.1%) pupils respectively had reactions to either
antigens of Salmonella typhi at dilutions of 1:160, 1:80, 1:40 and 1:20. At 1:40 dilution 1
(0.6%) and 3 (2.3%) each had reactions to HB, OB and HC respectively. Sixteen per cent had
reactions at higher dilutions of ³1:80 and this occurred more significantly in older children
2 = 15.50; p < 0.001), those with low maternal socio-economic status (cy
2 = 22.06,
p< 0.001), those from poor apartments (c2 = 4.49; p < 0.05) and those who used predominantly
none pipe-borne water (c2 = 5.40; p < 0.02). Against OD and HD, about 50.0% seroconverted
at 1:40 dilution with antibodies against H being more prevalent.
Conclusion: Interpretation of single widal reaction in endemic areas must take into cognisance
age, clinical and socio-cultural characteristics of the child.

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