Background: The prevalence of toxoplasmosis in the general population of Guadalajara, Mexico, is around 32%. Toxoplasmosis can cause ocular lesions and slowing of reaction reflexes. Latent toxoplasmosis has been related with traffic accidents. We aimed to assess the prevalence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies and visual impairments related with traffic accidents in drivers from the metropolitan Guadalajara.
Methods: We prospectively evaluated the prevalence of IgG and IgM anti-T. gondii antibodies in 159 individuals involved in traffic accidents, and in 164 control drivers never involved in accidents. Cases of toxoplasmosis reactivation or acute infection were detected by PCR in a subset of 71 drivers studied for the presence of T. gondii DNA in blood samples. Ophthalmologic examinations were performed in drivers with IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies in search of ocular toxoplasmosis.
Results: Fifty-four (34%) traffic accident drivers and 59 (36%) controls were positive to IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies (p = 0.70). Among the 113 seropositive participants, mean anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies titers were higher in traffic accident drivers than in controls (237.9 ± 308.5 IU/ml vs. 122.9 ± 112.7 IU/ml, respectively; p = 0.01 by Student's t test, p = 0.037 by Mann-Whitney U test). In multivariate analyses, anti-T. gondii IgG antibody titers were consistently associated with an increased risk of traffic accidents, whereas age showed an inverse association. The presence of IgM-anti-T. gondii antibodies was found in three (1.9%) subjects among traffic accident drives, and in two (1.2%) controls. Three (4.2%) samples were positive for the presence of T. gondii DNA, all among seropositive individuals. No signs of ocular toxoplasmosis were found in the entire cohort. Moreover, no other ocular conditions were found to be associated with the risk of traffic accidents in a multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: Anti-T. gondii antibody titers are associated with the risk of traffic accidents. We could not determine any association of ocular toxoplasmosis with traffic accidents. Our results warrant further analyses in order to clarify the link between toxoplasmosis and traffic accidents.