A sero-epidemiological study of Toxocara canis infection was conducted among Atayal schoolchildren (aged 7-12 years) residing in the mountainous areas of north-eastern Taiwan. The 73 children investigated were each checked for anti-Toxocara IgG, in ELISA based on the larval excretory-secretory antigens of T. canis larvae. A short, self-administered questionnaire was then used to collect relevant information from each subject, including data on the keeping of dogs, playing in soil, eating raw vegetables, and whether the subjects normally washed their hands before eating. Once the seropositive children had been identified, odds ratios (OR), with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) and P-values, were calculated for each potential risk factor. When diluted 1:64, sera from 42 (57.5%) of the children gave a positive result in the ELISA, indicating that these 42 children were seropositive for T. canis infection. Seropositivity did not appear to be associated with the age or gender of the subject, the eating of raw vegetables, or the regular failure to wash hands prior to a meal. Compared with the other subjects, however, those who admitted living in a household where dogs were kept (OR=3.79; CI=1.23-11.69; P=0.02) or playing in soil (OR=3.00; CI=1.10-8.16; P=0.03) appeared at increased risk of seropositivity.
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