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, 19 (1), 1056

Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma Gondii Among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinics at Hawassa University Comprehensive Specialized and Yirgalem General Hospitals, in Southern Ethiopia


Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma Gondii Among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Clinics at Hawassa University Comprehensive Specialized and Yirgalem General Hospitals, in Southern Ethiopia

Demissie Assegu Fenta. BMC Infect Dis.


Background: Toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It is acquired by consumption of raw or undercooked meat containing tissue cyst, food or water contaminated with oocyst and congenital infection through the placenta leading to serious congenital abnormalities in the fetus like miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine death and neurologic defects. Therefore; this study was aimed to determine the prevalence of toxoplasmosis infection and its possible risk factors associated with pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in Hawassa and Yiregalem Hospitals, Southern Ethiopia.

Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2016 to May 2017. The study was done in antenatal care clinics of Hawassa and Yiregalem Hospitals in Southern, Ethiopia. Five hundred pregnant women were interviewed with a pretested structured questionnaire to collect risk factors and socio-demographic data. Blood samples were collected and serum was separated and tested for anti- Toxoplasma gondii antibodies using ELISA (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay). Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20 statistical software. The risk factors were tested for significance using Bivariate and multivariate analysis. P-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The weighted prevalence of this study was 81.8% for the anti- Toxoplasma gondii antibody. Almost all participants (99.6%) had no information about the disease. A significant association was observed between seroprevalence and contact with domestic cats (OR = 1.206, 95% CI (1.627-2.206, P = 0.043), consumption of raw meat (OR = 0.848, 95% CI: 1.517-2.941, P = 0.019) and unpasteurized milk (OR = 0.871, 95% CI 1.531-2.221, P = 0.032). A significant association was not observed between seroprevalence and age, history of abortion, and blood transfusion.

Conclusions: The findings of this study demonstrated a relatively higher prevalence of seropositivity than studies reported from other countries. Existence of domestic cats at home, consumption of undercooked meat and unpasteurized milk were identified as risk factors for T. gondii infection. Therefore, a health education program to increase the mother's knowledge about toxoplasmosis towards avoiding eating undercooked meat, contact with cats and consumption of unpasteurized milk during pregnancy is recommended. Furthermore, our results suggested that the implementation of newborn screening and follow-up testing can lead to reducing of toxoplasmosis associated complications.

Keywords: Ethiopia; Hawassa; Pregnant women; T. Gondii; Yirgalem.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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