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Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Volume 5, Issue 5, Pages 218-223
Original Article

The Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasmosis in the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia

Eileen M Proctor1,2 and Satyendra N Banerjee1,3

1Division of Medical Microbiology, Department of Pathology, University of British Columbia, Canada
2National Centre for Diagnostic Parasitology (Morphology), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
3Provincial Laboratory, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Received 14 October 1992; Accepted 24 February 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in vegetarian and nonvegetarian members of different ethnic communities in the lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia.

Design: Serum samples were collected from 2027 participants drawn from various ethnic groups and tested by elisa for the presence of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii. Coded questionnaires requesting information relevant to the study were completed by each participant. The study population comprised 1334 females and 693 males; ages ranged from 17 to 102 years.

Main Results: Four hundred and nineteen (20.7%) individuals were IgG positive with titres ranging from 1:100 to 1:3200. IgM antibodies were detected in only four individuals. The seroprevalence rose with increase in age but there was no significant difference between males and females. A positive correlation was shown between ingestion of meat and between consumption of unpasteurized milk and antibodies to T gondii. Eighty per cent of females between the ages of 17 and 40, of all ethnic origins, were seronegative. Seropositivity did not differ between cat owners and non-cat owners.

Conclusions: Women of childbearing age are at risk of acquiring toxoplasmosis during pregnancy and of transmitting the infection transplacentally. Consumption of undercooked meat and unpasteurized milk may result in the acquisition of toxoplasmosis. Data suggest that acquisition of toxoplasmosis is more likely via environmental oocysts or cysts in food source animals than by direct contact with cats.