Soil contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs in public parks in the Midlands
Peter Kaul, Ian Wright, Hany Elsheikha
Sunday, October 2, 2022
<strong>Background</strong>: Soil contamination in public parks with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. eggs increases the risk of infection to both humans and animals.<strong>Aim</strong>: In this study, the hypothesis that soil samples in public parks within the East-Midlands region in England are contaminated with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. eggs was tested.<strong>Methods</strong>: A total of 405 soil samples were collected from 23 parks and nine associated play areas in three East Midlands cities, namely Nottingham, Leicester, and Derby. Soil samples were analysed using a modified flotation centrifugation technique.<strong>Results</strong>: Analysis revealed that 74% (17/23) of parks were contaminated, with an overall <em>Toxocara</em> spp. soil prevalence of 7.9% (32/405 samples). Moisture, temperature and play areas vs non-play areas were recognised as potential factors associated with <em>Toxocara</em> spp. prevalence in soil. There was a prevalence of 8.06% (15/186) in Derby, 9.65% (11/114) in Leicester and 5.71% (6/105) in Nottingham.<strong>Conclusions</strong>: These findings reveal the risks posed to those regularly frequenting these areas. Moreover, there should be further measures to improve environmental control, such as formulating a de-worming scheme that targets vertical transmission from mother to offspring and consideration of the role foxes have in <em>Toxocara</em> transmission.
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