Effects of breastfeeding and naturally acquired immunity on infection with Giardia lamblia: A study in a cohort of Mexican infants
Giardia lamblia is one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal tract infection among young children worldwide. Yet host protection against this parasite and the effect of infection with Giardia on infant growth are poorly understood. It was hypothesized that among young children, protection against infection with Giardia is afforded by breastfeeding and previous infection with the parasite and further, that infection with Giardia decreases growth velocity. From 4/88 to 4/90, 197 infants in a poor area of Mexico City were followed from 0 to 18 months of age, with stool specimens, symptoms and feeding status data collected weekly. A total of 6,031 stool specimens were tested for Giardia antigen by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. There were 1.0 Giardia infections per child-year; 25% were symptomatic and 54% lasted more than 1 month; 94 infants had 1, and 33 had 2 or more infections. Breastfeeding status was coded and analyzed for each child-week of follow up. 91% of study infants were breastfed from birth, 57% at 6 months and 38% at 12 months of age. Rate ratios for non-breastfeeding adjusted for confounding factors were calculated from stratified analyses and the Cox proportional hazards model. Not breastfeeding was a significant risk factor for first infection with Giardia vs. any breastfeeding (adjusted RR = 1.8; 1.1, 2.8) at all ages; a dose response was demonstrated by degree of breastfeeding. The adjusted rate ratio for non-breastfeeding vs. partial breastfeeding was 1.6 (1.03, 2.6) and for non-breastfeeding vs. complete breastfeeding was 4.7 (1.4, 15.9). Among Giardia infected infants, breastfeeding did not protect against diarrheal symptoms or shorten the duration of carriage. First and repeat infections with Giardia did not differ in duration or the percent symptomatic. The analysis of growth and Giardia infection was inconclusive but suggested that a history of Giardia infection might be associated with decreased weight velocity, while an immediate chronic infection might be associated with increased weight velocity. In summary, these data indicate that breastfeeding protects infants against infection with Giardia; provide no evidence of protection against repeat infections resulting from a prior infection and suggest but do not establish that a history of Giardia infection might be associated with decreased growth in young children.
Morrow, Ardythe Luxion, "Effects of breastfeeding and naturally acquired immunity on infection with Giardia lamblia: A study in a cohort of Mexican infants" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9130695.