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Regional variation in toxoplasmosis seronegativity in the São Paulo metropolitan region

Variação regional na soronegatividade para toxoplasmose na região metropolitana de São Paulo

Toxoplasmosis is a highly prevalent zoonotic human infection caused by the Apicomplexa protozoon Toxoplasma gondii. The acute disease is usually mild or asymptomatic, except for foetal infection transmitted by acutely infected pregnant women, which courses as a devastating disease. In order to determine possible regional variations in risk factors, we studied the frequency of seronegativity in areas of the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, comparing liters and age groups. The prevalence of seronegativity was determined retrospectively in 1286 pregnant women receiving prenatal care at public health services in four selected areas of the São Paulo Metropolitan Region of similar socioeconomic background. The São Paulo City area had the higher frequency of seronegativity (41.1%), followed by the Northwest (31.5%) and Southwest (29.9%) areas, with similar intermediate levels, and by the Northeast (22.5%) area with the lowest frequency (p<0.001). A rough estimate disclosed about 280 infected infants/year in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region. Serological titers analyzed by age group suggested a decline in antibody levels with age, as shown by a lower frequency of higher titers in older groups. Our study emphasizes the importance of determining the regional prevalence of toxoplasmosis for proper planning of public health prenatal care.

Toxoplasmosis; Epidemiology; Serology; Foetal risk; Pregnancy


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