Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among veterinary staff in Ontario, Canada (2002): Implications for teratogenic risk

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Abstract

Background: Toxoplasma gondii infection is embryotoxic in humans. It is mainly transmitted through raw/undercooked meat and ingestion of oocysts in cat feces. There remains controversy about the actual risk of cats transmitting the disease to humans. Our primary objective was to determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii antibody among veterinary staff, to ascertain whether they have an increased risk through occupational exposure. Our secondary objective was to examine their practices regarding cats, toxoplasma infection, and pregnancy. Methods: Veterinary staff attending the 2002 Annual Ontario Veterinary Medical Association Conference were invited to discuss their toxoplasma seroprevalence. Interested attendees completed a questionnaire and a physician drew blood samples to determine T. gondii titres using the ELISA IgG test. Results: We collected 161 completed questionnaires, and 141 blood samples. There were 20 (14.2%, CI 95%:8.4-19.9%) reactive titres among the veterinarian staff (80% females aged 30-45). All were regularly exposed to cats, washed their hands when in contact and few wore gloves routinely. Conclusions: These findings of low positive rates may be used to reassure veterinary staff that their exposure to cats does not appear to increase their risk of contracting toxoplasma infection and that pregnant women are not at an increased risk by owning a cat © 2003 Shuhaiber et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Shuhaiber, S., Koren, G., Boskovic, R., Einarson, T. R., Soldin, O. P., & Einarson, A. (2003). Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among veterinary staff in Ontario, Canada (2002): Implications for teratogenic risk. BMC Infectious Diseases, 3. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-3-8

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