Toxocariasis is a helminth zoonosis caused by infection with the larvae of Toxocara spp. ascarid worms. Only two species, Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati, are recognised as causative agents of human disease. The best choice for serodiagnosis of the generalised forms of toxocariasis, visceral larva migrans (VLM) or covert toxocariasis, relies upon the initial use of TES-ELISA, after which any positive result should subsequently be tested by Western blotting (WB). Covert toxocariasis is mostly a benign infection, so a large majority of infected subjects are asymptomatic or have very few symptoms and therefore go undiagnosed. In this form, this helminthosis is often self-limiting, leaving residual specific antibodies. A positive serodiagnosis caused by residual antibodies that do not have any diagnostic significance can be associated with any infectious or non-infectious disease. If separated from the ongoing clinical and laboratory context, such a positive result has no diagnostic value and should be only taken into account after the possible etiologies of any observed syndromes have been ruled out. Unlike the methods used for the immunodiagnosis of bacterial, viral or protozoal (toxoplasmosis) infections, it is not possible with toxocariasis to assess the age of the presence of specific IgG using the levels of specific IgM because IgM antibodies can be found throughout the course of helminthiasis. The detection of other classes of immunoglobulins, namely IgE and IgA, the subclasses, namely IgG4 or circulating Ag was proven to be unable to discriminate between active and self-cured generalised toxocaral infections. Currently, the diagnosis of an active covert toxocariasis relies upon indirect arguments, e.g., the presence of otherwise unexplained symptoms along with blood eosinophilia and/or elevated levels of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP). This situation is far from ideal and more research should be carried out to solve this difficult problem.
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