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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Jul 1;113(7):399-409. doi: 10.1093/trstmh/trz011.

Prevalence of toxocariasis and its related risk factors in humans, dogs and cats in northeastern Iran: a population-based study.

Author information

Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Science, Isfahan, Iran.
Social Determinant of Health Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Department of Laboratory Sciences, School of Paramedical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran.
Health Network Laboratory of Roshtkhar, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad Iran.
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.



Toxocariasis is one of the most common zoonotic infections in dogs and cats. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of anti-Toxocara antibodies and identify the epidemiological and clinical features and related risk factors of toxocariasis in the general population along with the prevalence of this infection in dogs and cats in northeast Iran.


In this cross-sectional study, anti-Toxocara antibodies from 1150 urban and rural participants were examined using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In addition, the stool specimens of 538 dogs and 236 cats were tested using the formalin-ether concentration technique. Sociodemographic data and related risk factors were collected using a structured questionnaire and the data on clinical manifestations were obtained from personal health records.


Anti-Toxocara antibodies were detected in 7.2% (83/1150) of the study population. Risk factors for seropositivity based on multivariable analysis were younger age (p=0.019), living in rural areas (p=0.048), occupations with high exposure risk to toxocariasis (p=0.001), contact with dogs or cats (p=0.003), contact with soil (p=0.001), history of geophagy (p=0.001) and the consumption of raw or undercooked liver (p=0.001). The prevalence of symptoms such as asthma, shortness of breath, blurred vision, abdominal pain and epilepsy were significantly higher in seropositive individuals compared with seronegative ones. Toxocara eggs were found in 15.1% (81/538) of dogs and 34.7% (82/236) of cats. A significant relationship was found between infection in dogs and cats and age, type, place of residence and anthelmintic consumption.


Identification of anti-Toxocara antibodies in the general population and the presence of confirmed infections in dogs and cats indicates exposure to Toxocara infection as a public health problem in northeast Iran.


Iran; cat; dog; risk factors; seroprevalence; toxocariasis


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