Sero-Prevalence and Factors Associated with Toxoplasma Gondii Infection among Pregnant Women Attending Antenatal Care in the Referral Hospital in Tanzania: Cross Sectional Study

Elichilia R Shao, Stanley G Ndazana, Wilfred Chacha, Gileard Masenga, Sonda Tolbert, Dominic Mosha, Emmanuel G Kifaro, Balthazar M Nyombi
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Background: Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. It is estimated that more than one third of the global population is infected with this parasitic infection. Serological screening of pregnant women for the presence of T. gondii antibodiesis not part of the antenatal care package in Tanzania. The current study assessed sero-prevalence and associated factors for T. gondii infection among pregnant women attending antenatal care clinic in KCMC referral Hospital.

Methods: Between April 26th to May 18th 2014 a total of 144 pregnant women attending KCMC for antenatal care were enrolled and screened for IgG and IgM antibodies against parasite T. gondii using lateral flow chromatography Assay which detects and differentiates IgM and IgG anti-T. gondii in human serum or plasma. Positive IgG results meaning, at some point in the life someone has been exposed to T. gondii and doesn’t mean the active infection.

Results: Of 144 expectant women investigated, 60 (41.7%) were seropositive for T. gondii-specific antibodies. Among sero-positive pregnant women 1 (1.7%) had anti-Toxoplasma IgM indicating acute infection. The risks of contracting T. gondii wasless by nearly 50% among pregnant women 30-years-old and above compared with those below 30-years-old (Crude OR=0.45: 95% CI 0.23-088; p=0.2). There was no statistical evidence for the difference (p=0.059) among T. gondii positive women across different age groups. HIV infection was not statistically significant associated with T. gondii infection [adjusted OR 1.17: CI 0.42–3.24; p=0.764.

Conclusions: One third of pregnant women attended at antenatal clinic were seropositive for T. gondii at some point in their life which might increase neonatal complications. Due to complications related to Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy in neonatal period: such miscarriage, chorioretinitis, hydrocephalus, cerebral calcification and fetal death. There is urgent need for screening during antenatal care.