An agent-based model of exposure to human toxocariasis: a multi-country validation

K. Kanobana, B. Devleesschauwer, K. Polman, N. Speybroeck

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

    11 Downloads (Pure)


    Seroprevalence data illustrate that human exposure to Toxocara is frequent. Environmental contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs is assumed to be the best indicator of human exposure, but increased risk of exposure has also been associated with many other factors. Reported associations are inconsistent, however, and there is still ambiguity regarding the factors driving the onset of Toxocara antibody positivity. The objective of this work was to assess the validity of our current conceptual understanding of the key processes driving human exposure to Toxocara. We constructed an agent-based model predicting Toxocara antibody positivity (as a measure of exposure) in children. Exposure was assumed to depend on the joint probability of 3 parameters: (1) environmental contamination with Toxocara spp. eggs, (2) larvation of these eggs and (3) the age-related contact with these eggs. This joint probability was linked to processes of acquired humoral immunity, influencing the rate of antibody seroreversion. The results of the simulation were validated against published data from 5 different geographical settings. Using simple rules and a stochastic approach with parameter estimates derived from the respective contexts, plausible serological patterns emerged from the model in nearly all settings. Our approach leads to novel insights in the transmission dynamics of Toxocara.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)986-998
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Helminthic diseases
    • Zoonoses
    • Toxocariasis
    • Toxocara
    • Dogs
    • Cats
    • Prevalence
    • Atopic diseases
    • Transmission dynamics
    • Prediction
    • Risk factors
    • Environmental exposure
    • Contamination
    • Antibodies
    • Larvae
    • Contact tracing
    • Children
    • Probabilities
    • Modeling
    • Review of the literature


    Dive into the research topics of 'An agent-based model of exposure to human toxocariasis: a multi-country validation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this