A survey of health education material for the primary prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis

Commun Dis Rep CDR Rev. 1995 Feb 3;5(2):R21-7.


We have assessed health education material for the prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis in terms of its epidemiological and clinical information and preventive advice. Nineteen leaflets and booklets were evaluated: fourteen were produced locally, ten for patients and four for professionals; and five were distributed nationally, including two sponsored booklets and one produced by the Department of Health. Material was compared with 'standards' derived from recently published reviews of toxoplasmosis and the Department of Health's booklet. The amount of information about toxoplasmosis, and the advice on how to avoid it, differed widely. Some booklets contained factual errors and some of the advice was impractical and even hazardous. Booklets contained on average between a fifth and a half of the standard desired for epidemiological and clinical information and preventive advice. Leaflets devoted to toxoplasmosis were more informative than general guides. Presentation was assessed informally: medical terminology inappropriate for a 'lay' audience was used, booklets were published in English only, and the date of publication was not printed. Health education is an important means of primary prevention of disability caused by congenital toxoplasmosis. Our study suggests that it has not received the scientific appraisal and commitment needed to make it effective.

MeSH terms

  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Toxoplasmosis, Congenital / prevention & control*