Background: Despite being one of the most prevalent helminth parasitic zoonoses worldwide and particularly in socioeconomically vulnerable populations, toxocariasis remains to be fully investigated in persons experiencing homelessness. Accordingly, the present study has aimed to assess the seroprevalence and associated risk factors of Toxocara spp. exposure in persons experiencing homelessness and shelter workers from a day-shelter in São Paulo city, Brazil. Methods: Anti-Toxocara IgG antibodies were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were performed to assess the risks for toxocariasis. Results: Overall, anti-Toxocara IgG antibodies were detected in 89/194 (45.9%, 95% CI: 39.0–52.9%) persons experiencing homelessness, twice as high (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.245–3.873; P = 0.0089) than the frequency of 22/79 (27.8%, 95% CI: 19.2–38.6) in shelter workers. College education was the only protective factor for Toxocara spp. exposure (OR: 0.23; P = 0.018) revealed by logistic regression. Conclusions: Although indicating a multifactorial origin of toxocariasis, the present study has assessed a highly vulnerable population with high disease risks and premature death. Thus, the living conditions of the homeless population have influenced the high prevalence of anti-Toxocara antibodies verified here compared with domiciled shelter workers. Despite being less exposed, shelter and other outdoor workers may present an occupational risk to toxocariasis. Future studies should establish whether such environmental exposure might occur in persons experiencing homelessness in other regions worldwide. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are thankful to Sandro Ricardo Ruys, Father Júlio Renato Lancellotti, and the Community Center of São Martinho de Lima for helping with the collection, sampling, and follow-up information.
© 2022, The Author(s).