High seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in a subset of Mexican patients with work accidents and low socioeconomic status
Alvarado-Esquivel, C., Torres-Castorena, A., Liesenfeld, O., Estrada-Martinez, S., Urbina-Alvarez, J. D.
Parasites & Vectors 2012;5: Artn 13 10.1186/1756-3305-5-13
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BACKGROUND: Toxoplasma gondii has been associated with reflex impairment and traffic accidents. It is unknown whether Toxoplasma infection might be associated with work accidents. Therefore, using a case-control seroprevalence study design, 133 patients with a recent work accident and 266 control subjects of the general population from the same region were examined with enzyme-linked immunoassays for the presence and levels of anti-Toxoplasma IgG antibodies and anti-Toxoplasma IgM antibodies. Socio-demographic, work, clinical and behavioral characteristics from each worker were obtained. RESULTS: Eleven (8.3%) of 133 patients, and 14 (5.3%) of 266 controls had anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies. Anti-T. gondii IgG levels were higher than 150 IU/ml in 8 (6%) patients and 10 (3.8%) controls. Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in one (0.8%) of the workers, and in 6 (2.3%) of the controls. No statistically significant differences in the IgG seroprevalences, frequencies of high IgG levels, and IgM seroprevalences among patients and controls were found. In contrast, a low socio-economic level in patients with work accidents was associated with Toxoplasma seropositivity (P = 0.01). Patients with work accidents and low socioeconomic status showed a significantly (OR = 3.38; 95% CI: 0.84-16.06; P = 0.04) higher seroprevalence of T. gondii infection than controls of the same socioeconomic status (15.1% vs. 5%, respectively). Multivariate analysis showed a positive association of T. gondii infection with boar meat consumption (OR = 3.04; 95% CI: 1.03-8.94; P = 0.04). In contrast, a negative association between T. gondii infection and national trips (OR = 0.40; 95% CI: 0.17-0.96; P = 0.04), sausage consumption (OR = 0.20; 95% CI: 0.05-0.68; P = 0.01), and ham consumption (OR = 0.16; 95% CI: 0.05-0.51; P = 0.002) was found. CONCLUSIONS: In the study described here seropositivity to T. gondii was associated to work accidents in a subset of patients with low socioeconomic status. This is the first report of an association of T. gondii infection and work accidents. Further studies to confirm our results are needed. Results may help in designing optimal prevention strategies to avoid T. gondii infection.