ABSTRACT: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease of worldwide distribution. Infection with Toxoplasma gondii can result in debilitating disease especially in the immunocompromized host and pregnant women. Determination of its seroprevalence and risk factors have been studied in many countries as a mean to understand its epidemiology and implement control measures. The scarcity of information on T. gondii infection in Lebanon warranted studying the toxoplasma antibody findings among individuals tested at different hospitals and private laboratories in Beirut in order to have an insight on its current seroprevalence in this country. This is a retrospective study targeting information related to IgG and IgM anti-T. gondii antibodies among females tested at different hospitals and private laboratories in Beirut. Toxoplasma antibody determination in the sera was done using different formats of semi-automated enzyme immunoassay techniques. The age of each tested individual was also recorded. The generated data was based on testing done at seven hospitals and seven private laboratories located in different areas of Beirut. The vast majority (around 96%) of the tested population were females with age ranging between 16 yrs and 40 yrs (i.e. mostly females at childbearing age). The seroprevalence of IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies determined on 1371 sera from hospital laboratories and 2145 sera from private laboratories were 55% and 67%, respectively. The IgM anti-T. gondii antibodies determined on 1352 sera from hospital laboratories and 2074 sera from private laboratories were 6.7% and 6.8%, respectively. Overall and among the 3516 and 3426 blood samples tested for toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies at all laboratories, the seropositivity was 62.2% and 6.8%, respectively. The toxoplasma IgG seropositivity showed significant (p<0.05) increasing correlation with advanced age, for example, from 9% at < or = 5 yrs to 78% at 46-50 yrs, and 94% at > or = 51 yrs. Based on this seroprevalence study, exposure to toxoplasm infection is considered high among the Lebanese population and it increases with advanced age. This current information reflects the endemicity of this disease and would help the medical and public health authorities to address policies for monitor and control aspects of the disease in Lebanon.
Le Journal médical libanais. The Lebanese medical journal 58(1):8-11.