Sero-epidemiology of Toxocara canis infection in children attending four selected health facilities in the central region of Ghana
Objective: The study determined the seroprevalence of Toxocara canis infection among children attending four selected health facilities in the Central Region of Ghana.
Design: Cross-sectional study
Method: Sera from 566 children aged 1-15 years attending four selected health facilities in the Central Region of Ghana between July and September 2012 was used in a Toxocara excretory-secretory antigenbased ELISA to detect serum IgG. A short questionnaire was designed to obtain data on respondents as to age, gender, educational level, locality of residence, habits of washing of fruits, vegetable and hands before eating, keeping of pet (dogs or cats) , and history of playing with soil and pets. Clinical information was also collected. Associations between sero-positivity and age group, gender, risk factors, educational level and other variables were determined by Chi square test.
Results: The overall sero-prevalence was 53.5% (n=566). Age, educational level and hospital visited were significantly associated with sero-positivity (p< 0.05). Children with history of playing with soil (χ2=9.03, p=0.003), pet-keeping (χ2=14.77, p=0.001) and not washing hands with soap before eating (χ2=5.82, p=0.016) were significantly associated with sero-positivity.
Conclusion: The sero-prevalence of T. canis infection in children in the study was high. The children should be educated to desist from risk factors such as playing with soil and pets and be encouraged to ensure proper personal hygiene.
Keywords: Seroprevalence, Toxocariasis, risk factors, children, Ghana