Differential serodiagnostics ofToxocara canisandToxocara cati– is it possible?

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One of the most common zoonotic helminth infections is caused by species in the genus Toxocara, particularly Toxocara canis and T. cati (Syn. T. mystax). However, their relative contribution to toxocarosis in humans remains largely unknown because causative larvae are seldom recovered and uncertainties regarding the validity of existing serological assays. In this study, we used sera from a pig model experimentally infected with T. canis and T. cati to evaluate whether a Western blot could discriminate between the two species. No proteins were observed that could be used as a diagnostic tool. In addition, a heterogenic protein pattern between individual hosts was found, which was most pronounced in the T. cati-infected pigs. There is therefore an urgent need to optimize and validate current methods or develop new species-specific serological methods in order to implement appropriate control measures.

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