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Use of Pathogen-Specific Antibody Biomarkers to Estimate Waterborne Infections in Population-Based Settings.


Purpose of review

This review discusses the utility of pathogen-specific antibody biomarkers for improving estimates of the population burden of waterborne infections, assessing the fraction of infections that can be prevented by specific water treatments, and understanding transmission routes and the natural history and ecology of disease in different populations (including asymptomatic infection rates).

Recent findings

We review recent literature on the application of pathogen-specific antibody response data to estimate incidence and prevalence of acute infections and their utility to assess the contributions of waterborne transmission pathways. Advantages and technical challenges associated with the use of serum versus minimally invasive salivary antibody biomarkers in cross-sectional and prospective surveys are discussed. We highlight recent advances and challenges and outline future directions for research, development, and application of antibody-based and other immunological biomarkers of waterborne infections.

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