Seroprevalence and Associated Risk Factors of Toxocariasis among College Students in Taipei City, Taiwan
AbstractBackground: Infection by Toxocara spp. is known to be significantly associated with partial epilepsy. It has become popular for people to raise dogs/cats as pets and consume roasted meat/viscera, and the status of Toxocara spp. infection, epilepsy awareness, and associated risk factors among the general population are currently unknown in Taiwan.Methods: A seroepidemiological investigation among 203 college students (CSs), consisting of 110 males and 93 females with an average age of 21.5 ± 1.2 years, was conducted in 2009 in Taipei City. A Western blot analysis based on excretory-secretory antigens derived from Toxocara canis larvae (TcESs) was applied to determine the positivity of serum immunoglobulin G antibodies. A self-administered questionnaire was also given to obtain information about demographic characteristics, epilepsy awareness, and risk factors. A logistic regression model was applied for the statistical analysis using SPSS software.Results: The overall seropositive rate of Toxocara spp. infection was 8.4% (17/203). As to epilepsy awareness, a non-significantly higher seroprevalence was found in CSs who claimed to "know" about epilepsy compared to those who did not know (P > 0.05).Conclusions: It appears that appropriate educational programs are urgently needed to provide correct knowledge related to the prevention and control measures against Toxocara spp. infections to avoid potential threats by this parasite to the general population in Taiwan.
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