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Seroprevalence of human Toxocara infections in the Roma and non-Roma populations of Eastern Slovakia: a cross-sectional study

  • D. ANTOLOVÁ (a1), P. JARČUŠKA (a2), M. JANIČKO (a2), A. MADARASOVÁ-GECKOVÁ (a2), M. HALÁNOVÁ (a2), L. ČISLÁKOVÁ (a2), Z. KALINOVÁ (a2), K. REITEROVÁ (a1), M. ŠKUTOVÁ (a1), D. PELLA (a2), M. MAREKOVÁ (a2) and HepaMeta Team...

Summary

Socioeconomic conditions and health of the Roma population, the most numerous minority in Europe, are worse than that of the non-Roma population. Information about the occurrence of human toxocarosis and other parasitic diseases in the Roma population is scarce or completely missing. The aim of this study was to map the seroprevalence of toxocarosis in the population living in segregated Roma settlements and to compare the data with the occurrence of antibodies in the non-Roma population of Eastern Slovakia. The seropositivity to Toxocara in 429 examined Roma inhabitants of segregated settlements reached 22·1%, while only 4/394 samples of the non-Roma population were found to be positive (odds ratio 27·7, P < 0·0001). Headache, muscle pain, influenza-like symptoms and diarrhoea occurred significantly more often in seropositive persons than in seronegative individuals. In the Roma population positivity was not influenced by gender, level of education and poverty, but age, lack of sanitary facilities and heating with wood significantly increased the risk of infection. It can be assumed that besides the high prevalence of toxocarosis, other parasitic diseases and communicable diseases will also be more prevalent in the Roma population living in segregated settlements.

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Corresponding author

* Author for correspondence: Miss D. Antolová, Institute of Parasitology SAS, Hlinkova 3, 040 11 Košice, Slovak Republic. (Email: antolova@saske.sk)

References

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