Prevalence and risk factors of toxoplasmosis among adults in a small Brazilian city

Abstract INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection varies markedly among different populations, especially depending on factors related to socioeconomic development and eating habits. Cássia dos Coqueiros is a small city in Brazil with rural characteristics and increased risk factors traditionally associated with T. gondii infection. METHODS: We carried out a cross-sectional study involving 970 inhabitants aged 18 years or more, selected from patients of the local health unit and home visits in urban and rural areas. Each participant completed a survey with questions regarding demographic, socioeconomic, and risk factors for toxoplasmosis. Blood samples from participants were tested for presence of IgG and IgM antibodies against T. gondii using a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. RESULTS: The prevalence of IgG and IgM antibodies was 62.3% and 2.5%, respectively. Variables that proved to be independent predictors of infection were age, low levels of education, and previous diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of toxoplasmosis serological markers in this adult population highlights the need to promote preventive practices, especially those directed toward women of childbearing age, in this part of Brazil.