Click for abstract
Background: The prevalence of infection with Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) in humans has been increasing in China due to the growing number of cats in the country. Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a serious public health issue in China and still one of the leading causes of child mortality. However, little is known about the epidemiology of T. gondii infection among HFMD patients. Methods: A case-control study of 281 HFMD patients from the First People's Hospital of Pingdingshan in Pingdingshan city, Henan province, central China, and 222 controls from Pingdingshan city was conducted. Anti-T. gondii antibodies were serologically detected using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: We found that the overall anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody prevalence among HFMD patients was 12.46 %, which was significantly higher than that in clinically healthy children (1.80 %). The highest T. gondii seroprevalence was detected in critical cases (22.58 %), followed by severe cases (11.50 %), and the lowest was detected in mild cases (8.33 %). Conclusion: The present study is the first survey of T. gondii seroprevalence among HFMD patients in China; 12.46 % were defined as seropositive. It is imperative that improved integrated measures are taken to prevent and control T. gondii infection among HFMD patients.