Toxoplasma gondii in individuals with schizophrenia: Association with clinical and demographic factors and with mortality

Faith Dickerson, John Boronow, Cassie Stallings, Andrea Origoni, Robert Yolken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Increased rates of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii have been found in individuals with schizophrenia as compared with control groups, but the correlates of Toxoplasma exposure in schizophrenia have not been defined. Methods: We measured IgG class antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in 358 individuals with schizophrenia. We correlated Toxoplasma antibody status with clinical and demographic variables and examined the effect of Toxoplasma seropositivity on mortality in a follow-up period of up to 5 years. Results: Individuals with schizophrenia who had serological evidence of Toxoplasma infection were more likely to be female but did not differ in age, race, total symptom score, or other demographic or clinical characteristics. However, we found that serological evidence of Toxoplasma was associated with a significantly increased risk of dying of natural causes during the follow-up period (Cox proportional hazard ratio of 4.70; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-17.31, P = .020) adjusted for age, gender, and other clinical and demographic variables. Conclusions: Toxoplasma infection may confer an increased risk for mortality from natural causes in schizophrenia. An understanding of the pathogenesis of Toxoplasma infections in individuals with schizophrenia might lead to new approaches to the management of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-740
Number of pages4
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Infection
  • Mortality
  • Parasite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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