In this survey, 998 children and adolescents between 7 months and 17 years of age who attended a hospital diagnostic center in the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for routine evaluation were tested for Toxoplasma gondii antibody. The 5.2% prevalence rate of antibody for children living in the outlying rural areas was significantly higher than the 1.1% rate among the urban children (P = .0006). Seroprevalence increased with age for both rural and urban children. Cat ownership was associated with antibodies to Toxoplasma among rural children but not urban children. Rural children who lived in a house with more than one cat were two times more likely to be infected than children who had one cat and three times more likely to be infected than children with no cats. The geometric mean titer was also significantly higher among the rural children with more than one cat, 1:152, than rural children with one or no cats, 1:63 (P = .02). In light of these findings for children and adolescents, the association of Toxoplasma infection with cat ownership needs to be thoroughly evaluated among pregnant women in rural areas.
- Received June 21, 1991.
- Accepted November 11, 1991.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics