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OBJECTIVES: Immuno-epidemiological studies of orally acquired, enteric pathogens such as nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) often focus on serological measures of immunity, ignoring potentially relevant oral mucosal responses. In this study we sought to assess the levels and detectability of both oral fluid and serum IgG and IgA to NTS antigens, in endemic and non-endemic populations. METHODS: IgG and IgA antibodies specific for Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis O antigen and phase 1 flagellin were assessed using Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Paired oral fluid and serum samples were collected from groups of 50 UK adults, Kenyan adults and Kenyan infants. Additionally, oral fluid alone was collected from 304 Kenyan individuals across a range of ages. RESULTS: Antigen-specific IgG and IgA was detectable in the oral fluid of both adults and infants. Oral fluid antibody increased with age, peaking in adulthood for both IgG and IgA but a separate peak was also observed for IgA in infants. Oral fluid and serum responses correlated for IgG but not IgA. Despite standardised collection the relationship between oral fluid volume and antibody levels varied with age and country of origin. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of NTS-specific oral fluid antibody can be used to complement measurement of serum antibody. For IgA in particular, oral fluid may offer insights into how protective immunity to NTS changes as individuals transition with age, from maternal to acquired systemic and mucosal immunity. This may prove useful in helping to guide future vaccine design.

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Flagellin, IgA, IgG, Nontyphoidal, O-Antigen, Oral fluid