• Epilepsy;
  • Toxocariasis;
  • Case-control study;
  • Burundi

Summary: Purpose: A case-control study to assess the relationship between epilepsy and toxocariasis was carried out in the Kiremba population, Burundi.

Methods: People with epilepsy (PWE) were diagnosed according to the definition proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). Seizures were classified according to the classification proposed by ILAE in 1981. One control per case was selected matched by age (±5 years). Control subjects also lived in Kiremba, had neither neurological disorders nor kinship with the PWE. Cases and controls were assessed serologically for antibodies against Toxocara canis by an immunoblotting assay. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CI were determined using conditional regression analysis for matched case-control study.

Results: One hundred ninety-one PWE (99 men and 92 women) and 191 age-matched controls (72 men and 112 women) were enrolled in the study. Of the 191 PWE, 113 presented partial seizures while 73 generalized seizures and five were unclassifiable. Antibodies anti T. canis were found in 114 PWE (59.7%) and in 97 controls (50.8%). Multivariate analysis (conditional logistic regression) showed a significant association between positivity for T canis and epilepsy with an adjusted OR of 2.13 (95% CI 1.18–3.83; p-value 0.01).

Conclusions: We found a significant association between toxocariasis and epilepsy. In agreement with a previous study, our finding suggests that toxocariasis may increase the risk of developing epilepsy in endemic areas and could participate to the high burden of epilepsy in tropical areas.