Submitted to: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2010
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Citation: Munoz-Zanzi, C., Fry, P., Lesina, B., Hill, D.E. 2010. Toxoplasma gondii oocyst-specific antibodies and sources of infection. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 16(10):1591-1593.
Interpretive Summary: Previous studies in Chile indicated that T. gondii infection is common, with seroprevalence estimates ranging from 37% (20) to 46% (21). Little is known about epidemiology and sources of infection in Chile, consequently, the objective of this study was to quantify the risk of acquiring infection from environmental sources (oocysts) versus meat in pregnant women from the Valdivia Province, Chile by taking advantage of the detection of antibodies that specifically recognize a protein from the oocyst (sporozoite) stage of the parasite
Sources of post-natal infection with T. gondii include consumption of undercooked meat containing tissue cysts or ingestion of oocysts in contaminated food or environment. This study quantified the risk of acquiring infection from oocysts versus meat in pregnant women from the Valdivia Province, Chile by taking advantage of the detection of antibodies that specifically recognize a protein from the oocyst stage of the parasite. A total of 494 serum samples were available for testing along with some basic demographic information. Overall sero-prevalence was 39.1% and showed to be positively associated with age (p = 0.02) and negatively associated with college level education (p = 0.08). Among women with avidity index suggestive of infection within the last 6 months, 46.5% had evidence of oocyst-associated
infection, which was particularly important in the very low socioeconomic group (p = 0.06). Public health interventions should target both sources of infection in this population.