Toxoplasmosis snapshots: global status of Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence and implications for pregnancy and congenital toxoplasmosis

Int J Parasitol. 2009 Oct;39(12):1385-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.04.003. Epub 2009 May 9.


Toxoplasma gondii's importance for humans refers mainly to primary infection during pregnancy, resulting in abortion/stillbirth or congenital toxoplasmosis. The authors sought to evaluate the current global status of T. gondii seroprevalence and its correlations with risk factors, environmental and socioeconomic parameters. Literature published during the last decade on toxoplasmosis seroprevalence, in women who were pregnant or of childbearing age, was retrieved. A total of 99 studies were eligible; a further 36 studies offered seroprevalence data from regions/countries for which no data on pregnancy/childbearing age were available. Foci of high prevalence exist in Latin America, parts of Eastern/Central Europe, the Middle East, parts of south-east Asia and Africa. Regional seroprevalence variations relate to individual subpopulations' religious and socioeconomic practices. A trend towards lower seroprevalence is observed in many European countries and the United States of America (USA). There is no obvious climate-related gradient, excluding North and Latin America. Immigration has affected local prevalence in certain countries. We further sought to recognise specific risk factors related to seropositivity; however, such risk factors are not reported systematically. Population awareness may affect recognition of said risks. Global toxoplasmosis seroprevalence is continuingly evolving, subject to regional socioeconomic parameters and population habits. Awareness of these seroprevalence trends, particularly in the case of women of childbearing age, may allow proper public health policies to be enforced, targeting in particular seronegative women of childbearing age in high seroprevalence areas.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Toxoplasmosis / epidemiology
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology
  • Toxoplasmosis / transmission
  • Toxoplasmosis, Congenital / epidemiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Congenital / parasitology
  • Toxoplasmosis, Congenital / transmission