Seroepidemiology of Toxocara Canis infection among primary schoolchildren in the capital area of the Republic of the Marshall Islands

Chung Jung Fu, Ting Wu Chuang, Huei Shan Lin, Chih Hsiung Wu, Yung Ching Liu, Mailynn K. Langinlur, Min Yun Lu, Wesley Wei Wen Hsiao, Chia Kwung Fan

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40 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Toxocariasis, which is predominantly caused by Toxocara canis (T. canis) infection, is a common zoonotic parasitosis worldwide; however, the status of toxocariasis endemicity in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) remains unknown. Methods: A seroepidemiological investigation was conducted among 166 primary school children (PSC) aged 7-12 years from the capital area of the RMI. Western blots based the excretory-secretory antigens of larval T. canis (TcES) was employed, and children were considered seropositive if their serum reacted with TcES when diluted at a titer of 1:64. Information regarding demographic characteristics of and environmental risk factors affecting these children was collected using a structured questionnaire. A logistic regression model was applied to conduct a multivariate analysis. Results: The overall seropositive rate of T. canis infection was 86.75% (144/166). In the univariate analysis, PSC who exhibited a history of feeding dogs at home (OR = 5.52, 95% CI = 1.15-26.61, p = 0.02) and whose parents were employed as nonskilled workers (OR = 2.86, 95% CI = 1.08-7.60, p = 0.03) demonstrated a statistically elevated risk of contracting T. canis infections. Cleaning dog huts with gloves might prevent infection, but yielded nonsignificant effects. The multivariate analysis indicated that parental occupation was the critical risk factor in this study because its effect remained significant after adjusting for other variables; by contrast, the effect of dog feeding became nonsignificant because of other potential confounding factors. No associations were observed among gender, age, consuming raw meat or vegetables, drinking unboiled water, cleaning dog huts with gloves, or touching soil. Conclusions: This is the first serological investigation of T. canis infection among PSC in the RMI. The high seroprevalence indicates the commonness of T. canis transmission and possible human risk. The fundamental information that the present study provides regarding T. canis epidemiology can facilitate developing strategies for disease prevention and control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number261
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2014


  • Primary school children (PSC)
  • Republic of the marshall islands (RMI)
  • Toxocara canis (T. canis)
  • Western blotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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