Sero–Prevalence, and Associated Risk Factors of Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Pregnant Women and HIV/AIDS Patients in Selected Cities of Ethiopia

Anteneh HAILU1*, Kassahun NEGASHE2, Aweke TASEW2, Medhint GETACHEW2, Tesfaye SISAY1, Tariku JIBAT3, Danel FEKADU4

DOI: 10.7904/2068–4738–V(10)–17

1Department of Medical Biotechnology, Institute Biotechnology, Addis Ababa University, P.O.Box 1176, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA; e–mail:, 2African Medical and Research Foundation [AMREF–Ethiopia], P.O.Box 20855/1000, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA; 3Addis Ababa University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture, P. O. Box 34, Debre zeit, ETHIOPIA, 4Addis Ababa University, College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, P.O.Box1170, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA

Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii infection is main cause of abortion, congenital defects and fatality in pregnant women and HIV/AIDS infected individuals respectively. The seroprevalence and risk factor assessment of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women and HIV/AIDS infected individuals in Addis Ababa, Jinka, Mojo and Awash towns of Ethiopia was conducted in this study. The study also assessed knowledge and perception of health professionals including physician, nurses and gynecologist, working in antenatal care in selected health institution of different parts of Ethiopia. A cross–sectional study was conducted from October 2011 to March 2012. Sera of 293 pregnant women and 190 in HIV/AIDS infected individuals were analyzed by serological method called Indirect Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay [ELISA]. The total seropostivity of IgG and IgM T. gondii were 89.9% and 28.3% respectively. From 293 pregnant women of study 9.5% were IgG negative and IgM positive and 25.5% were both IgG and IgM positive, which means 28.6% of pregnant women had detectable IgM antibodies during pregnancy. Univariate logistic regression analysis showed that study areas, age, residential places, educational status, HIV/AIDS status, ART utilization, pregnancy status, number of pregnancy, stage of pregnancy, history of abortion and number of abortion, cat at home, contact with cat, separate cat house, raw milk and vegetables consumption were significantly associated with seropositivity of T. gondii. From health professionals, 63% know health risk of domestic animals like cat with regards to toxoplasmosis. Consumption of raw or undercooked meat and vegetables (71.2%) were recognized as common source of T. gondii infection by health professionals consumption of raw milk (18.4%), contact with cat faces (14.3%), and drinking unboiled water (6.1%) were also mentioned as important modes of transmission. In this study, 52.7% of health professionals thought toxoplasmosis as important pathogen in HIV infected patients and pregnant women. Seropositivity of T. gondii infection in HIV/AIDS infected individuals and pregnant women in Addis Ababa, Jinka, Mojo and Awash towns of Ethiopia is high. Abortion, exposure to cat faces and HIV/AIDS status are main determining risk factors to acquire T. gondii infection in study population. There is also urgent need of incorporating zoonotic diseases concept in medical education and training. These findings are helpful for optimal design of strategies in contribution of health professionals in relation to toxoplasmosis, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. Furthermore, health Education, screening pregnant women during their antenatal care and in depth epidemiological studies are recommended.

 Key words: Cats; HIV/AIDS; Pregnancy; Health professionals; T. gondii, Zoonosis


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