Prevalence of Toxoplasmic Retinochoroiditis in an Australian Adult Population: A Community-Based Study

Lisia B. Ferreira, João M. Furtado, Jason Charng, Maria Franchina, Janet M. Matthews, Aus A.L. Molan, Michael Hunter, David A. Mackey, Justine R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis is the most common clinical manifestation of an infection with the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. Up to 50% of the human population is estimated to be infected with T. gondii; however, the epidemiology of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis has not been widely reported. We sought to estimate the prevalence of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis in Australia using data that were collected as part of the Busselton Healthy Ageing Study. Design: Cross-sectional, community-based, prospective cohort study. Participants: 5020 Australian adults (2264 men and 2756 women; age range, 45–69 years, and median age, 58 years). Methods: Retinal color photographs, centered on the optic disc and macula, were captured using a digital retinal camera after the dilation of the pupils. Three uveitis-subspecialized ophthalmologists assessed each pigmented retinal lesion, and complete concordance of opinion was required to assign a toxoplasmic etiology. Serum T. gondii immunoglobulin (Ig)G levels were measured for those participants with retinal lesions judged to be toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. Main Outcome Measures: Prevalence of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. Results: Eight participants (0.16%) had retinal lesions that were considered to have the characteristic appearance of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis, plus detectable serum T. gondii IgG, consistent with the diagnosis of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. On the assumption that 23.81% of retinal lesions occur at the posterior pole, as reported in a community-based survey conducted in Brazil (Sci Rep. 2021;11:3420), the prevalence of toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis was estimated to be 0.67% or 1 per 149 persons. Conclusions: Toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis is common in Australian adults. Efforts to quantify and address risk factors for human infection with T. gondii are justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
JournalOphthalmology Retina
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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