Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasmosis studies have been carried out in Lithuania and Estonia, but the data are fragmentary and incomparable as different diagnostic tools have been used not to mention the array of the antigen preparations used. It is reported for Estonia that in the middle of the 1960s, 52.3% of the blood donors and 45.8% of the pregnant women tested in Tallinn were positive for T. gondii (Jogiste and Kondratjeva 1965). There are data available from a study carried out at the end of the 1960s in Tartu indicating that among children between 7 and

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Table 5.1 The results of faecal examination for intestinal protozoan infection in Lithuania

Year Number of persons examined Number of persons infected

Giardia lamblia Entamoeba histolytica Balantidium coli Cryptosporidium

Table 5.1 The results of faecal examination for intestinal protozoan infection in Lithuania

Year Number of persons examined Number of persons infected

Giardia lamblia Entamoeba histolytica Balantidium coli Cryptosporidium

1992

164639

918

3

2

24

1993

132162

754

8

0

4

1994

137972

786

2

0

0

1995

120657

419

8

1

0

1996

133775

566

2

0

0

12 years of age, 12.4% among ones living in the countryside and 4.8% living in towns were positive for T. gondii (Kaari 1970). In the same report, 11 cases of congenitally acquired toxoplasmosis are discussed, but it is not clear for how many years the study was carried out.

The results of the toxoplasmosis studies carried out in Lithuania indicate that 43.2% of the mothers, infants and children below 14 years studied were IgG positive for T. gondii, and only 6.2% IgM positive (Bajoriniene et al. 1991). In a more recent study of sero-prevalence in Lithuania, 50.9% of the people studied were positive for T. gondii (Rockiene 1997). The sero-prevalence in pregnant women was 40.3%. The lower prevalence in the latter case is explained by the fact that the average age in this group was about 10 years lower than in the whole study group. According to this investigation, the annual incidence rate of new infection in the whole study group was 0.76 and 0.55% for the study group of pregnant women. Among the slaughter-house workers, this indicator was 0.93%. Four cases of acute infection were identified in the study group of pregnant women (528) indicating the possible prevalence of 7.6 cases of congenital infection per 1000 deliveries in Lithuania. The main source of infection underlined in this study has been the consumption of raw meat.

Lithuania is the only one of the three Baltic States where toxoplasmosis studies have been initiated, although so far having preliminary character. The current situation in Latvia and Estonia remains unclear, and there are no data available for any of the three countries, on the role of T. gondii in opportunistic infections of immuno-compromised patients.

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