October 1980

Human Toxocariasis in a Rural Community

Author Affiliations

From the Parasitic Diseases Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta (Drs Jones, Schantz, and Juranek); the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Everett, Pa (Ms Foreman), Somerset, Pa (Ms Smith), and Lewistown, Pa (Dr Schooley); and the Division of Epidemiology, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg (Dr Witte). Dr Jones is now with the Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis.

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(10):967-969. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130220045014

• A questionnaire and serologic survey of a Pennsylvania community revealed that 23 (54%) of 43 study participants had antibody titers to Toxocara canis (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test [ELISA]) in the range defined as positive (≥ 1:32). Age-specific seropositivity rates were highest among adults (≥ 18 years). Positive titers ranged from 1:32 to 1:512. Seropositivity did not cluster by family, and seropositivity rates were significantly higher than those of a control group. Physical examination and laboratory tests designed to detect clinical signs of toxocariasis were performed on individuals with positive ELISA titers. Nine of 23 had a history of pica, seizures, or chronic pulmonary symptoms; however, physical examination revealed no abnormalities. Although medical examination and laboratory tests revealed a few abnormalities, neither the visceral larva migrans syndrome nor the ocular lesions characteristic of those produced by Toxocara sp were observed in any individual. We conclude that although certain populations may have high seropositivity rates to Toxocara antigens, indicating previous infection, clinical disease may be uncommon.

(Am J Dis Child 134:967-969, 1980)