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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2008 Oct;79(4):552-7.

National seroprevalence and risk factors for Zoonotic Toxocara spp. infection.

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Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic, Vectorborne, and Enteric Diseases, CCID, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3724, USA.


To estimate the prevalence of Toxocara spp. infection in a representative sample of the United States population >or= 6 years of age, sera from participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988-1994) were tested for antibodies to Toxocara. Among the 30,930 persons selected for the survey, 82% (N = 25,733) were interviewed, and 91% (N = 23,527) of those interviewed underwent physical examination of which 87% (N = 20,395) were tested. The age adjusted Toxocara seroprevalence was 13.9% (95% confidence intervals [CI] 12.5, 15.3), and was higher in non-Hispanic blacks (21.2%) than non-Hispanic whites (12%) or Mexican Americans (10.7%; P < 0.001). Increased Toxocara seropositivity was associated with head of household level of education (low versus high) (odds ratio [OR]: 2.2; CI: 1.8, 2.8), poverty (OR: 1.5; CI: 1.3, 1.8), elevated blood lead concentrations (OR: 1.4; CI: 1.1, 1.9), and dog ownership (OR: 1.2; CI: 1.1, 1.4). Toxocara infection is widespread and associated with specific risk groups.

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