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Background:Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) organisms are a major cause of gastroenteritis and bacteremia, but little is known about maternally acquired immunity and natural exposure in infant populations residing in areas where NTS disease is highly endemic. Methods:We recruited 503 pregnant mothers and their infants (following delivery) from urban areas in Vietnam and followed infants until they were 1 year old. Exposure to the dominant NTS serovars, Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis, were assessed using lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O antigen-specific antibodies. Antibody dynamics, the role of maternally acquired antibodies, and NTS seroincidence rates were modeled using multivariate linear risk factor models and generalized additive mixed-effect models. Results:Transplacental transfer of NTS LPS-specific maternal antibodies to infants was highly efficient. Waning of transplacentally acquired NTS LPS-specific antibodies at 4 months of age left infants susceptible to Salmonella organisms, after which they began to seroconvert. High seroincidences of S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis LPS were observed, and infants born with higher anti-LPS titers had greater plasma bactericidal activity and longer protection from seroconversion. Conclusions:Although Vietnamese infants have extensive exposure to NTS, maternally acquired antibodies appear to play a protective role against NTS infections during early infancy. These findings suggest that prenatal immunization may be an appropriate strategy to protect vulnerable infants from NTS disease.

Original publication





The Journal of infectious diseases

Publication Date





295 - 304


Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programme, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.