The expanded spectrum of toxocaral disease

Lancet. 1988 Mar 26;1(8587):692-5. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(88)91486-9.


Among 137 members of 30 families, 6% (and 8% of those aged under 15 years) were seropositive for toxocara antibodies. In these seropositive subjects and in 84 patients known to have raised toxocara titres the commonest clinical features were abdominal pain, hepatomegaly, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, sleep and behaviour disturbances, pneumonia, cough, wheeze, pharyngitis, cervical adenitis, headache, limb pains, and fever. 61% of patients with raised toxocara titres had recurrent abdominal pain. Eosinophilia was in many cases associated with a raised toxocara titre, but 27% of patients with high titres had normal eosinophil counts. Toxocariasis is common, especially in children, and is associated with clinical features that are generally regarded as non-specific but together form a recognisable symptom complex. Toxocariasis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of such symptoms and especially in recurrent abdominal pain, which might otherwise be labelled as idiopathic. The absence of eosinophilia does not exclude toxocariasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / analysis
  • Ascariasis / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Eosinophils
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Larva Migrans, Visceral / blood
  • Larva Migrans, Visceral / immunology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Toxocara / immunology
  • Toxocariasis / complications
  • Toxocariasis / epidemiology*
  • Toxocariasis / immunology


  • Antibodies, Helminth