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Toxocariasis, a disease caused by infection with larvae of Toxocara canis, T. cati and/or congeners, represents clinical syndromes in humans including visceral and ocular larva migrans, neurotoxocariasis and covert/common toxocariasis. It is reported to be one of the most widespread public health and economically important zoonotic parasitic infections that humans share with dogs, wild canids, including foxes, and possibly other mammals. Humans become infected by accidental ingestion of embryonated Toxocara eggs or larvae from tissues from domestic or wild paratenic hosts. Most infections are asymptomatic, and human disease may go unnoticed, as clinical investigation is often not pursued and/or diagnostic testing not conducted. Sometimes toxocariasis can be associated with complications, such as allergic and/or neurological disorders, possibly including cognitive or developmental delays in children. There is no anti-toxocariasis vaccine, and chemotherapy in humans varies, depending on symptoms and location of larvae, and may include the administration of albendazole or mebendazole, together with anti-inflammatory corticosteroids. Some recent studies indicate that toxocariasis is having an increased, adverse impact on human health in some, particularly underprivileged, tropical and subtropical communities around the world. Although tens of millions of people, especially children, are expected to be exposed to, or infected by, Toxocara species, there is limited precise epidemiological data or information on the relationship between seropositivity and disease (toxocariasis) on a global scale. To gain an improved insight into this area, the present article reviews salient clinical aspects of human toxocariasis and the epidemiology of this disease, with particular reference to seroprevalence, and discusses future research and approaches/measures to understand and prevent/control this socioeconomically important, yet neglected zoonosis.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases
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Collection, analysis, and interpretation of data about the frequency, distribution, and consequences of disease or health conditions, for use in the planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs.
The application of molecular biology to the answering of epidemiological questions. The examination of patterns of changes in DNA to implicate particular carcinogens and the use of molecular markers to predict which individuals are at highest risk for a disease are common examples.
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