Toxoplasmosis infection among pregnant women in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2021 Jul 20;16(7):e0254209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0254209. eCollection 2021.


The epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is a major issue in public health. Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoan parasite. Toxoplasma parasite is at high risk for life-threatening diseases during pregnancy. Congenital toxoplasmosis results from a maternal infection acquired during gestation. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis was aimed to determine the seropositive prevalence of toxoplasmosis infection among pregnant women who attended antenatal care in a health facility in Africa. A systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished studies were included. Databases such as MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, African Journals Online were used with relevant search terms. The quality of the articles was critically evaluated using the tool of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Data were extracted on Microsoft word 2016. Meta-analysis was conducted using STATA 14 software. The heterogeneity and publication bias were assessed using the I2 statistics and Egger's test, respectively. Forest plots were used to present the pooled prevalence and odds ratio with a 95% confidence interval of meta-analysis using the random effect model. In total, 23 studies comprising 7,579 pregnant women across ten countries in Africa were included in this meta-analysis. The overall prevalence of seropositive toxoplasmosis among pregnant women in Africa was 51.01% (95% CI; 37.66, 64.34). The heterogeneity test showed that heterogeneity was high, I2 = 99.6%, P-value < 0.001. The variables responsible for the source of heterogeneity were included from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. Overall prevalence of toxoplasmosis in Africa showed that more than one-half of pregnant women were infected. The risk of acquiring toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy is high; hence, preventive measures to avoid exposure of pregnant women to Toxoplasma infection should be strictly applied.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cameroon / epidemiology
  • Congo / epidemiology
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / epidemiology*
  • Pregnant Women*
  • Toxoplasma / pathogenicity*
  • Toxoplasmosis / epidemiology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

We have not received any financial support for this work.