Skip to main content

Developmental age, physical fitness and Toxocara seroprevalence amongst lower-secondary students living in rural areas contaminated with Toxocara eggs

  • W. JAROSZ (a1), H. MIZGAJSKA-WIKTOR (a1), P. KIRWAN (a2), J. KONARSKI (a3), W. RYCHLICKI (a4) and G. WAWRZYNIAK (a5)...

Scarce and inconclusive information on general biological impact of Toxocara invasion on paratenic hosts, and people in particular, has led us to undertake a comprehensive study of the problem. The study has been conducted in a rural environment, which is considered a toxocarosis risk factor. In total 200 soil samples have been screened for Toxocara eggs by flotation, of which 14·5% were positive. Backyards close to households were most heavily contaminated with infectious eggs – 21·7% of positive samples. ELISA serological tests performed on 242 lower-secondary students found 14·5% of the studied population to be definitely positive – 16·5% of boys and 12·8% of girls, respectively. The odds of being infected with Toxocara were 2 times (CI: 1·15–3·85) more likely for individuals who owned a cat than those who did not own a cat. Strong significant correlation between seropositivity and the presence of a dog in a household was found with boys. The level of developmental age was significantly higher in seropositive than in seronegative students. No significant correlation has been observed between the motor abilities and seropositivity of students. Seropositive boys had significantly lower end-of-year grades than their seronegative counterparts.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Department of Biology and Environmental Protection, University School of Physical Education, Królowej Jadwigi 27/39, 61-871 Poznań, Poland. Tel: +48618355246. Fax: +48618355247. E-mail:
Hide All
Alonso, J. M., Stein, M., Chamorro, M. C. and Bojanich, M. V. (2001). Contamination of soil with eggs of Toxocara in a subtropical city in Argentina. Journal of Helminthology 75, 165168.
Barriga, O. O. (1988). A critical look at the importance, prevalence and control of toxocariasis and the possibilities of immunological control. Veterinary Parasitology 29, 195234.
Buijs, J., Borsboom, G., Renting, M., Hilgersom, W. J., van Wieringen, J. C., Jansen, G. and Neijens, J. (1997). Relationship between allergic manifestations and Toxocara seropositivity: a cross-sectional study among elementary school children. European Respiratory Journal 10, 14671475.
Buijs, J., Borsboom, G., van Gemund, J. J., Hazebroek, A., van Dongen, P. A., van Knappen, F. and Neijens, H. J. (1994). Toxocara seroprevalence in 5-year old elementary schoolchildren: relation with allergic asthma. American Journal of Epidemiology 140, 839847.
Carden, S. M., Meusemann, R., Walker, J., Stawell, R. J., MacKinnon, J. R., Smith, D., Stawell, A. M. and Hall, A. J. (2003). Toxocara canis: eggs presence in Melbourne parks and disease incidence in Victoria. Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 31, 143146.
Cilla, G., Perez-Trallero, E., Gutierez, C., Part, C. and Gomariz, M. (1996). Seroprevalence of Toxocara infection in middle class and disadvantaged children in northern Spain (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country). European Journal of Epidemiology 12, 541543.
Clemett, R. S., Hidajat, R. R., Allardyce, R. A. and Stewart, A. C. (1985). Toxocaral infection in hydatid control officers: diagnosis by enzyme immunoassay. The New Zealand Medical Journal 98, 737739.
Cox, D. M. and Holland, C. V. (1998). The relationship between numbers of larvae recovered from the brain of Toxocara canis-infected mice and social behaviour and anxiety in the host. Parasitology 116, 579594.
Czapla, Z. and Cieślik, J. (1998). The Electrophoretic Mobility of Cell Nuclei (EMN) index – relation to biological and physical properties of the cell. Antropological Review 61, 93–101.
Dogan, N., Dinleyici, E. C., Bor, O., Toz, S. O. and Ozbel, Y. (2007). Seroepidemiological survey for Toxocara canis infection in the northwestern part of Turkey. Türkiye Parazitolojii Dergisi 31, 288291.
Dubinsky, P., Havasiova-Reiterova, K., Petko, B., Hovorka, J. and Tomasovicova, O. (1995). Role of small mammals in the epidemiology of toxocariasis. Parasitology 110, 187193.
Fallah, M., Azimi, A. and Taherkhani, H. (2007). Seroprevalence of toxocariasis in children aged 1–9 years in western Islamic Republic of Iran, 2003. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 13, 10731077.
Fonrouge, R., Guardis, M. F., Radman, N. E. and Archelli, S. M. (2000). Soil contamination with Toxocara sp. eggs in squares and public places from the city of la Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Boletin Chileno de Parasitologia 55, 8385.
Giacometti, A., Cirioni, O., Fortuna, M., Osimani, P., Antonicelli, L., Del Prete, M. S., Riva, A., D'Errico, M. M., Petrelli, E. and Scalise, G. (2000). Environmental and serological evidence for the presence of toxocariasis in the urban area of Ancona, Italy. European Journal of Epidemiology 16, 10231026.
Gillespie, S. H., Bidwell, D., Voller, A., Robertson, B. D. and Maizels, R. M. (1993). Diagnosis of human toxocariasis by antigen capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Journal of Clinical Pathology 46, 551554.
Glickman, L. T. (1993). The epidemiology of human toxocariasis. In Toxocara and Toxocariasis, Clinical, Epidemiological and Molecular Perspectives (ed. Lewis, J. W. and Maizels, R. M.), pp. 3–10. British Society for Parasitology and Institute of Biology London, UK.
Glickman, L. T. and Schantz, P. M. (1981). Epidemiology and pathogenesis of zoonotic toxocariasis. Epidemiologic Reviews 3, 230250.
Gonzalez-Ruiz, A. and Bendal, R. P. (1995). Size matters: The use of ocular micrometer in diagnostic parasitology. Parasitology Today 2, 8385.
Gurel, F. S., Ertug, S. and Okyay, P. (2005). Prevalence of Toxocara spp. eggs in public parks of the city of Aydin, Turkey. Türkiye Parazitolojii Dergisi 29, 177179.
Habluetzel, A., Traldi, G., Ruggieri, S., Attili, A. R., Scuppa, P., Marchwtti, R., Menghini, G. and Esposito, F. (2003). An estimation of Toxocara canis prevalence in dogs, environmental egg contamination and risk of human infection in the Marche region of Italy. Veterinary Parasitology 2561, 111.
Hamilton, C.M, Stafford, P., Pinelli, E. and Holland, C. V. (2006). A murine model for cerebral toxocariasis: characterization of host susceptibility and behaviour. Parasitology 132, 791801.
Hay, J., Kendall, A. T., Aitken, P. P. and Arnott, M. A. (1986). Toxocara canis infection and hyperactivity. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 80, 531533.
Holland, C. V. and Cox, D. M. (2001). Toxocara in the mouse: a model for parasite-altered host behaviour? Journal of Helminthology 75, 125135.
Holland, C. V. and Hamilton, C. (2006). The significance of cerebral toxocariasis. In: Toxocara. The Enigmatic Parasite (ed. Holland, C. V. and Smith, H. V.), pp. 5873. CABI Publishing Wallingford, UK.
Holland, C. V., O'Connor, P., Taylor, M., Hughes, G., Girdwood, R. and Smith, H. (1991). Families, parks, gardens and toxocariasis. Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 23, 225231.
Holland, C. V., O'Lorcain, P., Taylor, M. R. H. and Kelly, A. (1995). Sero-epidemiology of toxocariasis in school children. Parasitology 110, 535545.
Jarosz, W. (2001). Zanieczyszczenie gleby jajami Toxocara spp. na terenie Elbląga. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 47, 143149.
Jacquier, P., Gottstein, B., Singelin, Y. and Eckert, J. (1991). Immunodiagnosis of toxocarosis in humans: evaluation of a new enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 29, 18311835.
Kennedy, M. W., Maizels, R. M., Meghji, M., Young, L., Qureshi, F. And Smith, H. V. (1987). Species-specific and common epitopes on the secreted and surface antigens of Toxocara cati and Toxocara canis infective larvae. Parasite Immunology 9, 407420.
Kvalsvig, J. D., Cooppan, R. M. and Connolly, K. J. (1991). The effects of parasite infections on cognitive processes in children. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 85, 551568.
Levav, M., Mirsky, A. F., Schantz, P. M., Castro, S. and Cruz, M. E. (1995). Parasitic infection in malnourished school children: effects on behaviour and EEG. Parasitology 110, 103111.
Logar, J., Kraut, A. and Likar, M. (1993). Toxocara antibodies in patients with visceral or ocular disorder in Slovenia. Infection 21, 2729.
Łużna-Lyskov, A. (2000). Toxocarosis in children living in a highly contaminated area. An epidemiological and clinical study. Acta Parasitologica 45, 4042.
Magnaval, J-F., Galindo, V., Glickman, L. T. and Clanet, M. (1997). Human Toxocara infection of the central nervous system and neurological disorders: a case-control study. Parasitology 115, 537543.
Magnaval, J-F., Glickman, L. T. and Dorchies, PH. (1994 a). La toxocarose, une zoonose helminthique majeure. Revue de Medecine Veterinaire 145, 611627.
Magnaval, J-F., Michault, A., Calon, N. and Charlet, J. P. (1994 b). Epidemiology of human toxocariasis in La Reunion. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 88, 531533.
Maikai, B. V., Umoh, J. U., Ajanusi, O. J. and Ajogi, I. (2008). Public health implications of soil contaminated with helminth eggs in the metropolis of Kaduna, Nigeria. Journal of Helminthology 82, 113118.
Marmor, M., Glickman, L., Shofer, F., Faich, L. A., Rosenberg, C., Cornblatt, B. and Friedman, S. (1987). Toxocara canis infection of children: epidemiologic and neuropsychologic findings. American Journal of Public Health 77, 554560.
Mizgajska, H. (1997). The role of some environmental factors in the contamination of soil with Toxocara spp. and other geohelminth eggs. Parasitology International 46, 6772.
Mizgajska, H. (2000). Zanieczyszczenie gleby jajami Toxocara spp. na terenie Krakowa i pobliskich wsi. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 46, 105110.
Mizgajska, H., Jarosz, W. and Rejmenciak, A. (2001). Rozmieszczenie źródeł inwazji Toxocara spp. w środowisku miejskim i wiejskim w Polsce. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 47, 399404.
Mizgajska, H. and Rejmenciak, A. (1997). Różnicowanie jaj Toxocara canis i Toxocara cati – pasożytów psa i kota. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 43, 435439.
Mizgajska-Wiktor, H. (2005). Recommended method for recovery of Toxocara and other geohelminth eggs from soil. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 51, 2122.
Mizgajska-Wiktor, H. and Uga, S. (2006). Exposure and environmental contamination. In Toxocara. The Enigmatic Parasite (ed. Holland, C. V. and Smith, H. V.), pp. 211227. CABI Publishing Wallingford, UK.
Motazedian, H., Mehrabani, B., Tabatabaee, S. H., Pakniat, A. and Tavalali, M. (2006). Prevalence of helminth ova in soil samples from public places in Shiraz. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 12, 562565.
Nelson, S., Greene, T. and Ernhart, C. B. (1996). Toxocara canis infection in preschool age children: risk factors and the cognitive development of preschool children. Neurotoxicology & Teratology 18, 167174.
Nokes, C., Grantham-McGregor, S. M., Sawyer, A. W., Cooper, E. S. and Bundy, D. A. (1992). Parasitic helminth infection and cognitive function in school children. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 247, 7781.
Oge, S. and Oge, H. (2000). Prevalence of Toxocara spp. eggs in the soil of public parks in Ankara, Turkey. Deutsche Tierarztiche Wochenschrift 107, 7275.
O'Lorcain, P. (1994). Prevalence of Toxocara canis ova in public playgrounds in the Dublin area of Ireland. Journal of Helminthology 68, 237241.
Pawłowski, Z. S. (2001). Toxocariasis in humans: clinical expression and treatment dilemma. Journal of Helminthology 75, 299305.
Pawłowski, Z. S. and Mizgajska, H. (2002). Toksokaroza w Wielkopolsce w latach 1990–2000. Przegląd Epidemiologiczny 56, 559565.
Polo-Teran, L. J., Cortes-Vecino, J. A., Villami-Jimenez, L. C. and Prieto, E. (2007). Zoonotic nematode contamination in recreational areas of Suba, Bogota. Revista de Salud Pública 9, 550557.
Rai, S. K., Uga, S., Ono, K., Rai, G. and Matsumura, T. (2000). Contamination of soil with helminth parasite eggs in Nepal. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health 31, 388393.
Roddie, G., Stafford, P., Holland, C. and Wolfe, A. (2008). Contamination of dog hair with eggs of Toxocara canis. Veterinary Parasitology 152, 8593.
Rokicki, J., Kucharska, A. P., Dzido, J. and Karczewska, D. (2007). Skażenie placów zabaw Gdańska jajami pasożytów. Wiadomości Parazytologiczne 53, 227230.
Ruiz de Ybanez, M. R., Garijo, M. M. and Alonso, F. D. (2001). Prevalence and viability of eggs of Toxocara spp. and Toxascaris leonina in public parks in eastern Spain. Journal of Helminthology 75, 169173.
Shaikenov, B. S., Rysmukhambetova, A. T., Massenov, B., Deplazes, P., Mathis, A. and Torgerson, P. R. (2004). Short report: the use of a polymerase chain reaction to detect Echinococcus granulosus (G1 strain) eggs in soil samples. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 71, 441443.
Shakhbazov, V. G., Colupaeva, T. V. and Nabokov, A. L. (1986). Novyj metod oprjedjeljenija biologicieskovo vazrosta cielovieka. Laboratorne Delo 7, 404.
Shakhbazov, V. G., Grigoreva, N. N. and Colupaeva, T. V. (1996). A new cyto-biophysical index of biological age and the physiological state of the human body. Fiziologia Cheloveka 22, 71.
Sharghi, N., Schantz, P. M., Caramico, L., Ballas, K., Teague, B. A. and Hotez, P. J. (2001). Environmental exposure to Toxocara as a possible risk factor for asthma: a clinic-based case-control study. Clinical Infectious Diseases 32, E111E116.
Simeon, D. T., Grantham-McGregor, S. M. and Wong, M. S. (1995). Trichuris trichura infection and cognition in children: results of randomized clinical trial. Parasitology 110, 457464.
Skirnisson, K. and Smaradottir, H. (1996). Zoonotic parasites of cats and dogs in playground in Iceland. EMOP VII (abstracts), Parassitologia 38, 437.
Smith, H. and Noordin, R. (2006). Diagnostic limitations and future trends in the serodiagnosis of human toxocariasis. In Toxocara. The Enigmatic Parasite (ed. Holland, C. V. and Smith, H. V.), pp. 89–112. CABI Publishing Wallingford, UK.
Szewczyk-Kramska, B. (1999). Toksoplazmoza i toksokaroza u dzieci w Wielkopolsce. Nowiny Lekarskie 68, 621–32.
Theodoridis, I., Frydas, S., Papazahariadou, M., Hatzistilianou, M., Adamama-Maraitou, K. K., Di Gioacchino, M. and Felaco, M. (2001). Toxocarosis as zoonosis. A review of literature and the prevalence of Toxocara canis antibodies in 511 serum samples. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology 14, 1723.
Thompson, D., Bundy, D., Cooper, E. and Schantz, P. (1986). Epidemiological characteristics of Toxocara canis zoonotic infection of children in a Caribbean community. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 64, 283290.
Uga, S. (1993). Prevalence of Toxocara eggs and number of faecal deposits from dogs and cats in sandpits of public parks in Japan. Journal of Helminthology 67, 7882.
Uga, S. and Kataoka, N. (1995). Measures to control Toxocara eggs contamination in sandpits of public parks. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 52, 2124.
van Dongen, P. A., Buijs, J., van Gemund, J. J., van der Bergh, J. P. and Bozon, I. J. (1989). How innocent is Toxocara? Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 133, 17891791.
Wachowski, E., Strzelczyk, R. and Osiński, W. (1987). Pomiar cech sprawności motorycznej osobników uprawiających sport. Wyniki badań. AWF Poznań Monographs (238).
Wolański, N. (1983). Rozwój Biologiczny Człowieka. PWN, Warszawa, Poland.
Wolfe, A. and Wright, I. P. (2003). Human toxocariasis and direct contact with dogs. Veterinary Record 152, 419422.
Worley, G., Green, J. A., Frothingham, T. E., Sturner, R. A., Walls, K. W., Pakalnis, V. A. and Ellis, G. S. Jr. (1984). Toxocara canis infection: clinical and epidemiological associations with seropositivity in kindergarten children. Journal of Infectious Diseases 149, 591597.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed