Is Toxoplasma gondii a potential risk for traffic accidents in Turkey?

Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Nov 10;163(1-2):34-7. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.11.002. Epub 2005 Dec 5.


In Turkey, traffic accidents are the major causes of mortality and morbidity. According to the statistics made by Turkish Security Headquarters in the year 2000, 7500 people are killed in the traffic accidents every year. Drivers are mostly blamed for the traffic accidents. Tired, weary, sleepy and absentminded driving are common reasons for traffic accidents due to many reasons. Among these reasons mental and reflex conditions of drivers are significant. Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common zoonoses throughout the world. In immunocomponent adults, toxoplasmosis has no clinical signs or symptoms and infection in such people can only be detected by serological examinations. This kind of latent or dormant toxoplasmosis can be located in neural or muscular tissues and cause prolonged reaction times of the muscles. Extended reaction times also lead to deceleration of the reflexes which could be a major cause of the traffic accidents. By the light of this situation, the incidence of Toxoplasma gondii is investigated among the population who were involved in a traffic accident while driving. A total of 185 people (100 men and 85 women), aged between 21 and 40 years, living in Izmir and Manisa cities, were enrolled in the study group (SG) during a period of 6 months time. Their informed consents were taken initially and the laboratory tests of all these individuals related to blood alcohol levels after the accidents were found negative. The control group (CG) were also consisted 185 people (95 men and 90 women), residents of the same region, in same age group. The people in CG had no clinical signs or symptoms concerning toxoplasmosis. All collected sera were examined using a commercial IgG and IgM ELISA kit. According to the results of serological tests of the SG, 45 (24.32%) sera were IgG positive, six (3.24%) were IgM positive and 10 (5.40%) were both IgG and IgM positive. On the other hand in CG, 12 (6.48%) people found IgG positive, one (0.54%) found IgM positive and three (1.62%) found both IgG and IgM positive. This data was considered as statistically significant by Yates corrected chi2-test. (p < 0.05). In conclusion, there is an increased risk for traffic accidents for drivers owing to these high seroprevalence of latent toxoplasmosis. Prospective studies are still necessary on this subject but latent toxoplasmosis of drivers should be taken into account while developing strategies to prevent traffic accidents in Turkey.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic* / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Toxoplasma / immunology
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Toxoplasmosis / epidemiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / immunology
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Urban Population


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M