Purpose To determine the incidence of, and risk factors for, ocular involvement among people known to have postnatally acquired Toxoplasma gondii infection in a region of southern Brazil where there is a high prevalence of endemic disease. Design Retrospective longitudinal cohort study. Methods Records of 302 patients with serologic evidence of recent T gondii infection (a positive anti-T gondii IgM antibody test) from Erechim, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil (1974-2002) were analyzed. The incidence of ocular involvement was calculated in terms of person-years (PY) of follow-up. Risk factors for ocular involvement were analyzed using log-rank and Fisher exact tests. Results At initial ocular examination (baseline), 30 patients (9.9%) had intraocular inflammation only (anterior chamber cells and flare, vitreous inflammatory reactions, retinal whitening), without clinically apparent necrotizing retinochoroiditis. At baseline, men were more likely to have ocular involvement (P =.043) and antiparasitic treatment was associated with less ocular involvement (P =.015). Follow-up examinations were performed on 255 patients (median follow-up, 13.7 months [range 0.4-261.9 months]). Among those without ocular involvement at baseline, the incidence of necrotizing retinochoroiditis was 6.4/100 PY. Patients >40 years of age at first IgM test had a greater risk of incident necrotizing retinochoroiditis (hazard ratio = 4.47, 95% CI = 1.67-11.93, P =.003) than younger patients. The incidence of recurrent necrotizing retinochoroiditis was 10.5/100 PY. Conclusion Isolated intraocular inflammatory reactions can be an initial manifestation of T gondii infection, with necrotizing retinochoroiditis occurring months or years later. Male sex and older age are risk factors for toxoplasmic retinochoroiditis. Antitoxoplasmic treatment may protect against early ocular involvement.
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