Serosurvey of anti-Toxocara canis antibodies in people experiencing homelessness and shelter workers from São Paulo, Brazil

Vamilton Alvares Santarém, Anahi Chechia do Couto, Susana Zevallos Lescano, William Henry Roldán, Ruana Renostro Delai, Rogério Giuffrida, Louise Bach Kmetiuk, Alexander Welker Biondo, Sriveny Dangoudoubiyam, Andrea Pires dos Santos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number373
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
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  • Homeless
  • Seroprevalence
  • Toxocariasis
  • Zoonosis


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