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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Integrated Approach to the Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites and the Impact on Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases

Title: Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in women from the North of Portugal in their childbearing years

item Lopes, Ana -
item Moutinho, O -
item Gargate, M -
item Vilares, A -
item Rodrigues, M -
item Cardoso, L -

Submitted to: Epidemiology and Infection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2011
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Citation: Lopes, A.P., Dubey, J.P., Moutinho, O., Gargate, M., Vilares, A., Rodrigues, M., Cardoso, L. 2011. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in women from the North of Portugal in their childbearing years. Epidemiology and Infection. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268811001658.1-6.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts.. In the present study scientists document prevalence of T. gondii in women of child bearing age. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection and associated risk factors were investigated in 401 women of childbearing age from the North of Portugal. Among the 98 (24.4%) seropositive women, 92 (93.9%) were detected as positive only for imunoglobulin (Ig) G, two women (2.0%) were positive only for IgM, and four other (4.1%) were simultaneously positive for IgG and IgM. An increasing seroprevalence, although not statistically different, was found with age, from 19.5% in the younger group (16-24 years) to 31.9% in the older one (35-45 years). Risk factors for T. gondii infection were soil related activities without gloves (odds ratio [OR] = 8.4), consumption of unwashed raw vegetables or fruit (OR = 7.6) and that of smoked or cured (non-cooked) processed pork products (OR = 2.5). Most women of childbearing age from northern Portugal are susceptible to primary infection with T. gondii and, therefore, the risk of congenital toxoplasmosis remains high.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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