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Endemicity of Toxoplasma infection and its associated risk factors in Cebu, Philippines.


ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled intracellular apicomplexan parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. It is capable of infecting humans and nearly all warm-blooded animals including pigs, but cats are the only known definitive host. This ubiquitous zoonotic pathogen can cause abortion, stillbirth and fetal abnormalities, and has been associated with mental and behavioral changes in humans. Acute infection is potentially fatal in immunocompromised individuals. The present study aimed to assess the Toxoplasma seroprevalence in pigs, humans and cats after its initial reported detection in pigs about three decades ago in Cebu, Philippines. A total of 924 humans, 104 cats and 514 slaughter pigs were tested for antibodies against T. gondii using a commercial latex agglutination test. The results revealed positive detection rates of 26.3% (244/924) for humans, 42.3% (44/104) for cats and 13.4% (69/514) for slaughter pigs. Statistical analyses revealed that the area (P = 0.004), cat ownership (P = 0.020), the frequency of contact with cats (P < 0.0001) and consumption of street foods (P = 0.043) were significantly associated with seropositivity for T. gondii in humans. Meanwhile, the use of litter trays (P = 0.001) and contact with other animals (P = 0.007) were significantly associated with seropositivity in cats. The odds ratio for selected significant factors revealed that living in suburban areas (OR 1.66, 95% CI: 1.20-2.31), owning a cat (OR 1.482, 95% CI: 1.07-2.07) and eating street foods (OR 1.585, 95% CI: 1.01-2.48) were associated with an increased risk of T. gondii exposure in humans. In cats, the use of a litter tray (OR 4.5, 95% CI: 1.73-11.71) was associated with an increased risk of exposure. None of the profile parameters were found to be significantly associated with seropositivity in slaughter pigs (P > 0.05). This study is the first report of the serological detection of T. gondii in humans and cats in Cebu, Philippines, and the first assessment of the prevalence of the parasite in pigs in the area since its initial detection in 1982. This is also the first report documenting the seropositivity of T. gondii in pregnant women in the country. The confirmed seropositivity of T. gondii in Cebu, Philippines, in the present study implies the endemicity of toxoplasmosis in this area and highlights the need for routine testing and increased public awareness.

SUBMITTER: Ybanez RHD 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6561560 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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