Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in the Iranian general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Acta Trop. 2014 Sep;137:185-94. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.05.015. Epub 2014 Jun 2.


Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common protozoan parasites with widespread distribution globally. It is the causative agent of Toxoplasma infection, which is prevalent in human and other warm-blooded vertebrates. While T. gondii infection in healthy people is usually asymptomatic, it can lead to serious pathological effects in congenital cases and immunodeficient patients. We sought to identify the seroprevalence rate of Toxoplasma infection in the Iranian general population to develop a comprehensive description of the disease condition in Iran for future use. Electronic databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, Science Direct, and Scopus) and Persian language databases (Magiran, Scientific Information Database [SID], Iran Medex, and Iran Doc) were searched. Furthermore, graduate student dissertations and proceedings of national parasitology congresses were searched manually. Our search resulted in a total of 35 reports published from 1978 to 2012.These include 22 published articles, 1 unpublished study, 8 proceedings from the Iranian conference of parasitology, and 4 graduate student dissertations, resulting in 52,294 individuals and 23,385 IgG seropositive cases. The random errors method was used for this meta-analysis. The result shows that the overall seroprevalence rate of toxoplasmos is among the general population in Iran was 39.3% (95% CI=33.0%-45.7%). There was no significant difference in the seroprevalence rate between male and female patients. A significant linear trend of increasing overall prevalence by age was noted (P<0.0001). In addition, the data indicates that there are high seroprevalence in groups who have direct contact with cats, consume uncooked meat and raw fruits or vegetables, in farmers and Housewife, individuals who have a low level of education, and live in rural areas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first systematic review of T. gondii infection seroprevalence in Iran, which shows a high prevalence of Toxoplasma infection (more than one third). We highly recommend further study for the purposes of aiding patient management and developing more efficient diagnostic tests and effective prevention approaches.

Keywords: General population; Iran; Meta-analysis; Systematic review; Toxoplasma gondii; Toxoplasma infection.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G