Toxoplasma gondii Infection and Headache: A Matched Case-Control Study in a Public Hospital in Durango City, Mexico

Cosme Alvarado-Esquivel, Yazmin del Rosario Rico-Almochantaf, Luis Francisco Sanchez-Anguiano, Gerardo Quinones-Canales, Jesus Hernandez-Tinoco, Jorge Torres-Gonzalez, Maria Felix Gonzalez-Silva, Eda Guadalupe Ramirez-Valles


Background: Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) can disseminate to brain in infected hosts. Little is known about the magnitude of the association between this infection and headache. Therefore, we sought to determine the association of T. gondii seropositivity and headache in patients attending neurological consultations in a public hospital in Durango City, Mexico.

Methods: Through an age- and gender-matched case-control study, 105 patients suffering from headache and 105 subjects without headache were examined for anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies using commercially available enzyme-linked immunoassays. Seropositive cases were analyzed for detection of T. gondii DNA by polymerase chain reaction.

Results: Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were found in five (4.8%) of the 105 cases and in seven (6.7%) of the 105 controls (odds ratio (OR) = 0.70; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.21 - 2.28; P = 0.76). The frequency of high (> 150 IU/mL) levels of anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies among anti-T. gondii IgG positive individuals was significantly (P = 0.01) higher in cases (5/5) than in controls (1/7). Anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies were found in one (20.0%) of the five IgG seropositive cases, and in three (42.9%) of the seven IgG seropositive controls (P = 0.60). T. gondii DNA was not detected in any of the five anti-T. gondii IgG positive cases. No association between T. gondii infection and specific headache types was found.

Conclusions: This is the first matched case-control study on the association between T. gondii infection and headache. Results suggest that high anti-T. gondii IgG antibody levels, but not T. gondii seropositivity, were associated with headache in the population studied.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(1):27-31


Toxoplasma gondii; Infection; Seroprevalence; Headache; Case-control study; Epidemiology; Mexico

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