Prevalence of Antibodies to Enteroviruses and Varicella‐Zoster Virus Among Residents and Overseas Volunteers at Agricultural Settlements in Israel

M. Margalith, B. Fattal, H. I. Shuval, A. Morag

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6 Scopus citations


Within the framework of a comprehensive study of the correlation between enteric diseases and wastewater utilization in agricultural settlements (kibbutzim) the prevalence of several viral antibodies was examined among kibbutz residents and overseas volunteers. The latter were assumed to be a group highly susceptible to local pathogens. For the purpose of this study the presence of antibodies against eight enteroviruses [Coxsackieviruses (COX) types A9, B1, B3, and B4, echoviruses (ECHO) types 4, 7, and 9, and hepatitis A virus (HAV)] and a nonenterovirus, varicella‐zoster virus (VZV), was tested in their sera. The prevalence of these viral antibodies among 342 volunteers (aged 18 to 34 years) upon their arrival at the kibbutzim was compared with that of 176 kibbutz residents of the same age. Seroconversion (ie, acquisition of viral antibodies) was tested in 115 of the volunteers two months after their arrival at the kibbutz. The prevalence of antibodies against each of the eight enteroviruses studied was found to be significantly higher among the kibbutz residents, but the prevalence of antibodies to VZV was similarly high in both groups (52% for volunteers and 59% for kibbutz residents). The mean antibody prevalence for the seven COX and ECHO viruses was 2.1 antibodies/person in the volunteer group v 4.7 antibodies/person among the kibbutz residents. Fifty‐eight percent (58 %) of the residents had antibodies to HAV as compared with 14% of the volunteers. No correlation was found between seropositivity (ie, previous exposure) to various enteroviruses and the immune status to HAV or VZV in both kibbutz residents and volunteers. About 80% of the volunteer population had antibodies to ≤ 2 viruses/person v ≤4 viruses/person among the entire (almost 100%) population of kibbutz residents of the same age group. Volunteers tested after a two‐month stay showed a mean seroconversion rate of 9.4% per virus (ie, 4.7% per one month, as compared with 1.1 % of the calculated mean for kibbutz residents). Thus, it appears that the highly susceptible volunteer group from abroad became infected during their stay at kibbutzim at a rate of 4.3 times faster than the local residents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1986


  • enteroviruses
  • seroconversion
  • varicella‐zoster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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