An enzyme-immunoassay was developed to measure the concentration of serum antibody specific for the secretory antigens released by migrating toxocaral larvae. This technique was evaluated by testing sera from healthy UK adults, and from patients with and without toxocariasis. In 922 healthy adults, 2.6% were found to have elevated specific antibody levels. Elevated values were observed twice as frequently in males as in females but showed no significant regression with age between 20 and 65 years. Of 62 patients with non-toxocaral helminthic infections, all had antitoxocaral antibody levels within the range of values observed in healthy controls and had a mean level which was not significantly elevated. All of 13 patients with clinical toxocariasis had enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) antibody levels above the 100th percentiles of both the healthy population and the helminth-infected group and had a significantly high mean value (p less than 0.001) more than 12 times that of the healthy or infected controls. The high degree of sensitivity and specificity of the toxocariasis enzyme-immunoassay indicates that this new test should be useful in reference immunodiagnostic applications and in large-scale seroepidemiological surveys.
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