Monitoring transmission intensity of trachoma with serology

Trachoma, caused by ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection, is targeted for global elimination as a public health problem by 2030. To provide evidence for use of antibodies to monitor C. trachomatis transmission, we collated IgG responses to Pgp3 antigen, PCR positivity, and clinical observations from 19,811 children aged 1-9 years in 14 populations. We demonstrate that age-seroprevalence curves consistently shift along a gradient of transmission intensity: rising steeply in populations with high levels of infection and active trachoma and becoming flat in populations near elimination. Seroprevalence (range: 0-54%) and seroconversion rates (range: 0-15 per 100 person-years) correlate with PCR prevalence (r: 0.87, 95% CI: 0.57, 0.97). A seroprevalence threshold of 13.5% (seroconversion rate 2.75 per 100 person-years) identifies clusters with any PCR-identified infection at high sensitivity ( >90%) and moderate specificity (69-75%). Antibody responses in young children provide a robust, generalizable approach to monitor population progress toward and beyond trachoma elimination.

Christine Tedijanto, Anthony W Solomon, Diana L Martin, Scott D Nash, Jeremy D Keenan, Thomas M Lietman, Patrick J Lammie, Kristen Aiemjoy, Abdou Amza, Solomon Aragie, Ahmed M Arzika, E Kelly Callahan, Sydney Carolan, Adisu Abebe Dawed, E Brook Goodhew, Sarah Gwyn, Jaouad Hammou, Boubacar Kadri, Khumbo Kalua, Ramatou Maliki, Beido Nassirou, Fikre Seife, Zerihun Tadesse, Sheila K West, Dionna M Wittberg, Taye Zeru Tadege, Benjamin F Arnold. Nat Commun. 2023 Jun 5;14(1):3269. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38940-5.