Prospective Risk Factors of Toxoplasmosis Seropositivity in Pregnant Women: The Fundamental Role of Community Healthcare Education

Lienda Bashier Eltayeb, Nasir Abdelrafie Hamad, Abeer Abd Alla Ellhassan Babiker

International Journal of Biomedicine. 2021;11(4):558-563.
DOI: 10.21103/Article11(4)_OA26
Originally published December 10, 2021


Background: The present study conducted a survey on awareness of toxoplasmosis infection, with an emphasis on risk factors, and an assessment of toxoplasmosis prevalence in pregnant women in Al-Kharj province of KSA.
Methods and Results: A cross-sectional study with a qualitative approach was carried out from August 2018 to February 2019. The study recruited all pregnant women who attended maternity and children’s outpatient clinics. The non-probability sampling approach was used to select 345 blood samples from study subjects. T. gondii-specific IgG and IgM antibodies were identified using ELISA. Each participant enrolled in the study was provided with a validated questionnaire to fill out by an assistant of the laboratory technician or an antenatal care nurse. In addition to socio-demographic data, simple closed-ended questions about established risk factors for T. gondii exposure were included in the questionnaire items, and answers were listed in a three-point Likert scale (agree, disagree, I am not sure). The overall prevalence of T. gondii-specific antibodies among study subjects was 12.75%; 29(8.40%) women were positive for IgG only, 9(2.6%) - for IgM, and 6(1.7%) - for both IgG and IgM antibodies.
About 41.4% of participants were in the first trimester of pregnancy; among them 31(9%) were positive for T. gondii antibodies.  82.8% of pregnant women had chronic infection in the first trimester, while 44.4% of those women also had an acute infection.  The number of respondents to the questionnaire was 345 participants with a response rate of about 100%. It is important to note that 81.5% of women were unaware that toxoplasmosis is dangerous, and two-thirds of them didn't know the dangerous complications for the fetus and newborn.
Conclusion: The current study concludes that there is a low prevalence of toxoplasmosis among Saudi pregnant women in Al-Kharj province. A general program must be implemented to increase population awareness, especially among the at-risk populations.

Toxoplasma gondii • risk factors • IgG • IgM • pregnancy
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Received September 13, 2021.
Accepted November 29, 2021.
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