Seroprevalence and associated risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in a representative Australian human population: The Busselton health study
School of Medical & Health Sciences
Despite being identified as one of the top neglected parasitic infections, Toxoplasma gondii has received little recognition in Australia with no previously published prevalence data from the general human population. The objectives of the current study were to: determine the prevalence of evidence of exposure to T. gondii infection in an Australian community dwelling population, and: identify associated risk factors.
Sera from 75 males and 75 age-matched females living in Busselton, Western Australia were tested for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Survey derived data were also analysed to evaluate risk factors.
IgG and IgM antibodies were detected in 99 (66.0%) and 15 (10.0%) of subjects, respectively. IgG seroprevalence increased from 44.4% (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 18.9–73.3%) in the 18–34 year-old age group to 81.0% (95% CI: 60.0–92.3%) in the 75–84 age group. The observed IgG seroprevalence increased at a rate of 0.8% with each year of age. No risk factors were identified.
The first study of its kind in Australia found T. gondii infection to be highly prevalent. Toxoplasma gondii infection has been neglected in Australian notifiable disease programs therefore Australian public health authorities should focus on improving education to raise awareness and commence longitudinal epidemiological data collection to supplement public health models targeting T. gondii transmission control.