Increased incidence of traffic accidents in Toxoplasma-infected military drivers and protective effect RhD molecule revealed by a large-scale prospective cohort study

Department of philosophy, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
BMC Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 2.56). 02/2009; 9:72. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2334-9-72
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Latent toxoplasmosis, protozoan parasitosis with prevalence rates from 20 to 60% in most populations, is known to impair reaction times in infected subjects, which results, for example, in a higher risk of traffic accidents in subjects with this life-long infection. Two recent studies have reported that RhD-positive subjects, especially RhD heterozygotes, are protected against latent toxoplasmosis-induced impairment of reaction times. In the present study we searched for increased incidence of traffic accidents and for protective effect of RhD positivity in 3890 military drivers.
Male draftees who attended the Central Military Hospital in Prague for regular entrance psychological examinations between 2000 and 2003 were tested for Toxoplasma infection and RhD phenotype at the beginning of their 1 to 1.5-year compulsory military service. Subsequently, the data on Toxoplasma infection and RhD phenotype were matched with those on traffic accidents from military police records and the effects of RhD phenotype and Toxoplasma infection on probability of traffic accident was estimated with logistic regression.
We confirmed, using for the first time a prospective cohort study design, increased risk of traffic accidents in Toxoplasma-infected subjects and demonstrated a strong protective effect of RhD positivity against the risk of traffic accidents posed by latent toxoplasmosis. Our results show that RhD-negative subjects with high titers of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies had a probability of a traffic accident of about 16.7%, i.e. a more than six times higher rate than Toxoplasma-free or RhD-positive subjects.
Our results showed that a common infection by Toxoplasma gondii could have strong impact on the probability of traffic accident in RhD negative subjects. The observed effects could provide not only a clue to the long-standing evolutionary enigma of the origin of RhD polymorphism in humans (the effect of balancing selection), but might also be the missing piece in the puzzle of the physiological function of the RhD molecule.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Context: Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic infections worldwide and is occasionally able to cause cysts in the central nervous system (CNS). Although its importance is highlighted in immune-compromised patients, it is also associated with non-identified complications due to various anatomopathological and histological changes in CNS among immune-competent hosts, particularly following travel or military deployment to endemic regions. These changes may lead to behavioral disorders, which are frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed. Evidence Acquisition: We designed a narrative review to describe the risk of toxoplasmosis associated with military jobs and the potential changes in different parts of the central nervous system during toxoplasmosis, based on published articles in the last 30 years. Results: The current body of evidence reveals many potential routes of transmission for military operating forces and there have been
    09/2014; 2. DOI:10.5812/jamm.18560
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The zoonotic pathogen Toxoplasma gondii infects over 1/3 of the human population. The intracellular parasite can persist lifelong in the CNS within neurons modifying their function and structure, thus leading to specific behavioral changes of the host. In recent years, several in vitro studies and murine models have focused on the elucidation of these modifications. Furthermore, investigations of the human population have correlated Toxoplasma seropositivity with changes in neurological functions; however, the complex underlying mechanisms of the subtle behavioral alteration are still not fully understood. The parasites are able to induce direct modifications in the infected cells for example by altering dopamine metabolism, by functionally silencing neurons as well as by hindering apoptosis. Moreover, indirect effects of the peripheral immune system and alterations of the immune status of the CNS, observed during chronic infection, might also contribute to changes in neuronal connectivity and synaptic plasticity. In this review we will provide an overview and highlight recent advances, which describe changes in the neuronal function and morphology upon T. gondii infection.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Parasite Immunology 11/2014; 37(3). DOI:10.1111/pim.12157 · 1.85 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic zoonoses worldwide. Humans get infections with T. gondii after ingesting raw or undercooked meat or oocysts via contaminated soil, food or water; or congenitally by transplacental transmission of tachyzoites. The objectives of the present study were to estimate the seroprevalence and assess risk factors for T. gondii infection in sheep and goats slaughtered for human consumption in Central Ethiopia.
    BMC Research Notes 10/2014; 7(1):696. DOI:10.1186/1756-0500-7-696

Full-text (3 Sources)

Available from
Jun 2, 2014