Skip to main content
  • Research article
  • Open access
  • Published:

Seroprevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women following antenatal care at Mizan Aman General Hospital, Bench Maji Zone (BMZ), Ethiopia



The intracellular parasite, Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii) is found worldwide. Infection with T. gondii during pregnancy can result in fetal and neonatal death or various congenital defects. A serological survey during pregnancy represents a valuable tool for the effective diagnosis and treatment of infected neonates. The aim of this study was to assess the sero-prevalence and risk factors of T.gondii in pregnant women following ante natal care (ANC) services at Mizan Aman General Hospital, Bench Maji zone (BMZ), Ethiopia.


An institution based cross-sectional study was conducted enrolling a sample of 232 pregnant women attending antenatal care at Mizan Aman General Hospital during 01 December, 2014 to 18 February, 2015. Systematic random sampling technique was used to obtain the required sample. About 5 ml of blood sample was collected aseptically by using properly labeled plain tube with the necessary information. The blood samples centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 10 min to separate serum. The serum was stored at a temperature of 20 °C below zero until the serological analysis was done for the presence of anti T.gondii antibodies (i.e. Immune globulin ‘M’ (IgM) and Immune globulin ‘G’ (IgG)) using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Exit interview was conducted with eligible mothers to obtain socio-demographic and behavioral data using structured questionnaires. Multivariate logistic regression modeling was employed to identify the potential predictor variables for T.gondii infection. P-value less than 5 % was considered to declare a sound significant association.


The response rate of the study was 100 %. The overall sero-prevalence for T.gondii infection was 85.3 % (198/232). About 191 (82.3 %) of the pregnant women were reactive only for IgG anti-bodies. While about 7 (3.0 %) of them were seropositive for both IgG and IgM anti-bodies. None of the mothers were positive for IgM anti-bodies exclusively. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, contact with cat and gardening soil were significantly associated with T.gondii infection (AOR =2.37, 95 % CI = [1.16, 3.57] and AOR = 2.49, 95 % CI = [1.53, 3.86] respectively.


Sero-prevalence of T. gondii antibodies for IgM was relatively high among pregnant women. Contact with cat and soil were risk factors for T.gondii case. Creating awareness on the source of infection, modes of transmission and prevention of T. gondii should be given for pregnant women. Routine screening services for T. gondii infection should be integrated with other ANC services to identify potential infections of the parasite.

Peer Review reports


The intracellular parasite; Toxoplasma gondii is found worldwide and it is an exceptionally broad host range protozoan parasites on earth. Felines are the only definitive host while all other warm-blooded animals including humans are intermediate hosts for the parasite [13]. Toxoplasma infects up to one third of the world’s population, and the infection can be life threatening during pregnancy and in immune-compromised individuals [4].

Humans get infections with T. gondii through ingesting of raw or undercooked meat, drinking unpasteurized milk, ingesting of contaminated soil; food or water with cat-shed oocysts, or congenitally via transplacental transmission of tachyzoites [2, 57]. Beef and lambs are known to be the most common sources of food related T.gondii infections [2]. Needle-stick injuries or cuts, blood transfusion and organ transplantation are also possible risk factors for infection [4].

It is a major public health concern resulting in hospitalizations and this is ranked third in USA among food related causes of death [4, 8, 9]. Infection with T. gondii during pregnancy can result in fetal and neonatal death or various congenital defects [5, 10]. Most infected fetuses are likely to have manifestations such as retinochoroiditis, mental retardation, blindness, pneumonias and encephalitis later in their life [1115].

In Ethiopia, human toxoplasmosis infection is a neglected disease [16] and report of few studies showed that its sero-prevalence in general population ranges from 20.2 % [17] to 90 % [18]. According to Ethiopian Demographic and health survey (EDHS) of 2011, the infant mortality rate in Ethiopia was estimated to be 59 deaths per 1000 live birth [19] and 26 % of them are due to infection [20]. For such occurrences, T. gondii might have a great contribution as it has the ability to cause fetal death, spontaneous abortion, still birth, intrauterine growth retardation, preterm deliveries, fetal abnormalities and ocular damage [2112].

Maternal T. gondii infection is usually asymptomatic and if the diagnosis is delayed, unavoidable and irreversible fetal damage might take place [2223]. Therefore, early diagnosis during pregnancy is highly desirable allowing prompt intervention in order to reduce the probability of foetal infections and consequent substantial damages [24]. However, there was no documented data on the sero-prevalence and risk factors of T. gondii infection in the study area to the best of our knowledge and only a few studies have been carried out elsewhere in Ethiopia, but not enough to provide basic information that could be used to develop a comprehensive control strategy for the prevention and treatment of T.gondii infection. The aim of this study was, therefore, to determine the Seroprevalence and risk factors of T. gondii in pregnant women following ante natal care (ANC) at Mizan Aman General Hospital, Bench Maji zone (BMZ), Ethiopia.


Study area and period

The study was conducted in Bench Maji zone (BMZ) which is located in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and found at distance of 555 km from Addis Ababa (the capital city of Ethiopia). The study was carried out from 01 December, 2014 to 18 February, 2015. The area has appropriate weather conditions conducive to the continued existence of the parasites (i.e. the area is located in ever green zone with annual average temperature and rainfall ranging from 15.1 °C to 27.5 °C and 400 to 2,000 mm respectively, according to BMZ annual report of 2012 and there were large populations of wild and domestic cats, as the report indicated). On top of this, there was no serological screening of pregnant women for T. gondii infection in the Hospital in particular and Ethiopia in general.

Study design and population

An institution based cross-sectional study was conducted at Mizan Aman General Hospital enrolling a sample of 232 pregnant women following ANC services. Sample size was determined using single population proportion formula with sero-prevalence value (p = 83.6 %) taken from previous study [25] and 95 % confidence interval with a 5 % desired absolute precision was considered [26]. Considering 10 % of the sample size for non-response rate, the total sample size was calculated to be 232. Two hundred thirty two pregnant women were drawn using a systematic random sampling technique. According to the data obtained from Mizan Aman General Hospital, an average recorded flow rate of pregnant women for ANC in the preceding year was 15 women per day. Our study period was estimated to be 78 days (i.e. form 01 December 2014 to 18 February 2015) and therefore about, 1170 (15*78) pregnant women are expected to attend ANC during the study period. This gives a sampling interval (Kth value) of five (i.e. 1170 divided by 232 = 5). Finally, a sample unit (a participant) was selected from every five records picking one random record at once.

Questionnaire survey

Exit interview was done to collect data about the potential risk factors by using structured questionnaire. The questionnaire covers socio-demographic information including age, level of education, occupation, residence, source of drinking water, and obstetric history and other behavioral factors like consumption of raw vegetables, raw milk and raw meat, and hand washing practices. Furthermore, presence of wild and domestic cats in their home, neighboring or surroundings, number of cats in the home, contact with cats and soil were addressed.

Sample collection and serological analysis

We used a blood sample collected for other routine purposes in the hospital care. About 5 ml of venous blood specimen were collected aseptically by using plain tube. The tubes were labeled properly with the necessary information. Then, the whole blood samples were left for few hours at room temperature to allow clotting, and then centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 10 min to separate serum. The serum was stored at 20 °C below zero until it was analyzed serologically for anti-Toxoplasma antibodies using the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. Commercial kit from (HUMAN Gesellschaft für Biochemica und Diagnostica mbH, Germany); was used to measure T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies and the test was performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The cut-off value was expressed in an index. The test was considered negative if the index was <0.77 and positive if it was >0.97 for IgM. In the same way, the cut-off values for detection of IgG <0.3 was negative and ≥0.6 was considered positive.

Data analysis

Data were coded and entered into Epidata 3.1 statistical packages (Jens M. Lauritsen and Michael Bruus: EpiData Association, Denmark). The data were imported to statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20 for windows (v 20.0; IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA) for further analysis. Cross-tabulations of sero-status were done with socio-demographic and behavioral characteristic as summary measures. Univariate logistic regression was employed as bivariate analysis to select significant variables to be used in subsequent multivariate logistic regression analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (AOR), with variables resulting in p-values less than 0.05 considered to be significantly associated with seropositivity.


Sero-positivity of T.gondii

A total of 232 pregnant women were enrolled during the study period with the mean age ± standard deviation (SD) of 23.65 ± 5.4. An overall sero-prevalence for T.gondii infection was 85.3 % (198/232) [95 % CI: 80.1, 89.4]. About 191 (82.3 %) of the pregnant women were reactive only for IgG anti-bodies. While only, 7 (3.0 %) of them were seropositive for both IgG and IgM anti-bodies. None of the mothers were positive for IgM anti-bodies exclusively. Of the 198 seropositive pregnant women, 100 (50.5 %) were in the second trimester and 22 (11.1 %) were with history of abortion.

Fifty six, (28.3 %) and 87 (43.9 %) women with seropositivity had reported the presence of either one or more cats in their house and their neighbors respectively. One hundred and twenty one, (61.1 %) women had contact with cats. Ninety three, 47 % of respondents consumed raw meat with 92 (46.7 %) having contact with gardening soil. Majority of them, 156 (78.8 %) consumed boiled milk while 177 (89.4) wash vegetable before consuming, and 163 (82.3) were tap water for drinking. (Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1 General characteristics of the pregnant women Attending ANC at Mizan-Aman General hospital, south west Ethiopia, 2015
Table 2 Seropositivity of T. gondii in relation to behavioral characteristics of the pregnant women in Mizan-Aman General hospital, south west Ethiopia

Risk factors to T.gondii infection

The result of univariate logistic regression analysis showed that consumption of raw milk, hand washing practices, consumption of unwashed vegetables, sources of drinking water were not significantly associated with seropositivity, while women’s age, presence of cat in the neighborhood, consumption of raw meat, contact with cats and contact with soil were significantly associated with seropositivity and, thus, were included in multivariate analysis. Finally, the result of multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that women’s contact with cats and gardening soil were potential risk factors of T. gondii infection with OR = 2.37 and 95 % CI [1.16, 3.57] and OR = 2.49 and 95 % CI = [1.53, 3.86] respectively (Table 3).

Table 3 Independent Predictors of T. gondii Seroprevalence among pregnant women attending ANC at Mizan-Aman General hospital, south west Ethiopia, 2015


This is among few studies in Ethiopia and the first study conducted among pregnant women in women attending ANC at Mizan-Aman General hospital, Southwest part of the country to determine T. gondii infection and its risk factors among this group.

The overall sero-prevalence of T. gondii infection in this study was found to be 85.3 % (95 % CI: [80.1, 89.4]. This is in-line with the 86.4 % and 83.6 % of sero-prevalence reported from central and south eastern Ethiopia, respectively [16, 25]. However, it is significantly higher than recent study conducted in Ethiopia, 68.4 % [27] and lower than study done in Ghana, 92.5 % [28]. In contrast, lower sero-prevalence of T. gondii was reported in many European countries and the United States of America [29, 30]. The reported sero-prevalence rate in pregnant women varies between countries as well as different areas within the same country [31, 32].

Several factors such as differences in climatic conditions, where higher sero-prevalence is associated with hotter and wetter areas which mainly support sporulation of oocysts compared to less humid areas [3335] and cat density with high rate of oocyst shedding were reported before [16]. Furthermore, the difference could be due to mothers’ socio-economic characteristics such as management of cats, educational level, hygienic practice, feeding habit and sensitivity difference in the serological tests employed [2].

The 82.3 % Toxoplasma IgG positive and lgM negative results obtained in this study was similar with study from Jimma town, Ethiopia [25] and higher than those studies reported from Central Ethiopia [16] and elsewhere in the world [3640]. In this study, 3.02 % of enrolled pregnant women had detectable IgM antibodies during pregnancy with potential risk of congenital T. gondii infection warranting attention to design preventive measures. This may happen due to either recrudesce of previous infection because of reduction of body’s resistance related to pregnancy or due to re-exposure to T. gondii infection [40].

Approximately half of pregnant women (49.14 %) were in the second trimester of gestational period. Pregnant women are more susceptible due to immunosuppressant condition of pregnancy where the innate immunity protecting against T. gondii is more altered during the third trimester of gestation [40].

According to this study, pregnant women having close contact with cats were at risk for T.gondii infection showing similar results with studies carried out in Ethiopia [27] and in Taiwan [41, 42]. Evidence that cats are definitive host, where sexual multiplication of T. gondii takes place and excrete the unsporulated oocysts with feces had been previously confirmed [4345]. Pregnant women in contact with infected cats will naturally be at greater risk of acquiring the infection [2, 30]. In contrast, contact with cats was also not associated to the chance of infection as reported from UK, Brazil, Turkey and Nigeria [4649]. The risk of infection might exist when there is close contact with cats or with their feces that could remain in the environment for at least 24 h so that the oocysts sporulate and become infective [50, 51].

Having contact with soil demonstrated significant association with Toxoplasma sero-positivity of pregnant women in this study. Similar result was reported from Central Ethiopia [16]. On the other hand, Ethiopian studies did not find an association between infection and contact with gardening soil [25, 27]. Similarly, study conducted in Brazil [52] did not find an association between T. gondii infection and gardening probably because of the climate of the region, which is dry and hot throughout the year [53]. The habit of handling soil or sand should also be considered in T.gondii infection. On the other hand, another study done in Southern Brazil [54] showed that contact with the contaminated soil was the most important factor. The oocysts in soil can remain infective for 12 to 24 months under ideal moisture, temperature conditions and in a favorable shady location [51].

Differences in sero-prevalence for T. gondii infections of this study were not statistically significant for educational status. This finding was different from a study done in Debre Tabor town, Ethiopia [27], which reported pregnant women with low educational status had higher prevalence of T.gondii antibody than with higher educational status. Similar results were reported from Brazil [40] and China [55] that noticed maternal school education presented a clear protecting effect for anti-T.gondii sero-positivity. High education level may reduce risk of exposure and increase awareness to adopt appropriate hygienic measures [56].

One of the risk factors that are often associated with acute infection in pregnant women was eating raw or undercooked meat [56]. Ethiopia has a long history of eating of raw meat locally known as ‘Kurt’ in Amharic language [16], which is still popular. In the present study, there was no significant association between consumption of raw meat and Toxoplasma infection. This is different from earlier studies in Ethiopia [57, 58] and elsewhere [2, 38, 48] that demonstrated significant association between sero-positivity and behavior of raw meat consumption. However, report of Debre Tabor and Jimma town, Ethiopia [27] and [25] respectively, did not find significant association of sero-prevalence of T.gondii with raw meat consumption. This difference could be due to frequency of consumption, type of consumed meat (pig, sheep and goat) and prevalence of the parasite in the animals [2, 59].


To sum, sero-prevalence of T. gondii antibodies was relatively high among pregnant women. In this study, having contact with cat and gardening soil were found to be independent predictors of T. gondii infection. Results of the present study therefore, advocate implementation of preventive measures. Creating awareness on the source of infection, modes of transmission and prevention of T. gondii should be given for pregnant women. Routine screening services for T. gondii infection should be integrated with other ANC services to identify potential infections of the parasite.



Ante natal care


Adjusted odds ratio


Ethiopian health and demographic survey


Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay


Immuno globulin G


Immunoglobulin M


  1. Boothroyd JC, Grigg ME. Population biology of Toxoplasma gondii and its relevance to human infection. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2002;5:438–42.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Dubey JP. Toxoplasmosis of animals and humans. 2nd ed. Maryland: CRC Press; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Fekadu A, Shibre T, Cleare AJ. Toxoplasmosis as a cause for behavior disorders- overview of evidence and mechanisms. FoliaParasitol (Praha). 2010;57:105–13.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Montoya JG, Liesenfeld O. Toxoplasmosis Lancet. 2004;363:1965–76.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Torgerson PR, Macpherson CNL. The socioeconomic burden of parasitic zoonoses: global trends. Vet Parasitol. 2011;182:79–95.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Opsteegh M, Teunis P, Mensink M, Zuchner L, Titilincu A, Langelaar M, Van der Giessen J. Evaluation of ELISA test characteristics and estimation of Toxoplasma gondii sero-prevalence in Dutch sheep using mixture models. Prev Vet Med. 2010;96:232–40.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Weese S. Pets and immune-compromised people. Worms & Germs Blog, Ontario Veterinary College’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses. 2008.

  8. Elsheikha MH, Azab SM, Abousamra KN, Rahbar HM, Elghannam MD, Raafat D. Sero-prevalence of and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies among asymptomatic blood donors in Egypt. J Parasitol. 2009;104:1471–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Jones JL, Dubey JP. Food toxoplasmosis. Clin Infect Dis. 2012;55:845–51.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Montoya JG, Rosso F. Diagnosis and management of Toxoplasmosis. Clin Perinatal. 2005;32:705–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Flatt A, Shetty N. Sero-prevalence and risk factors for toxoplasmosis among antenatal women in London: a re-examination of risk in an ethnically diverse population. Eur J Public Health. 2013;23:648–52.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Montoya JG, Huffman HB, Remington JS. Evaluation of the immunoglobulin G avidity test for diagnosis of toxoplasmic lymphadenopathy. J Clin Microbiol. 2004;42:4627–31.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Mandel GL, Bennet JE, Bennett DR. Bennett's principles and practice of infectious diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone; 2010. p. 3495–522.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, Hauth JC, Gilstrap LC, Wenstron KD. Williams's obstetrics. 22nd ed. New York: McGRAW-HILL; 2005. p. 1289–91.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Montoye JG, Remington JS. Toxoplasma gondii. In: Mandell GL, Bennet JE, Dolin R, editors. Principles and practice of infectious diseases. 5th ed. New York: Churchill Livingston Inc; 2000. p. 2858–81.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Gebremedhin EZ, Abebe AH, Tessema TS, Tullu KD, Medhin G, Vitale M, et al. Sero-epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in women of child- bearing age in central Ethiopia. BMC Infect Dis. 2013;13:101–10.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  17. Eshete H, Tessema S, Abebe S, Abebe A. Some notes on toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Addis Ababa. Ethiop Med J. 1994;32:135–6.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Techalew S, Mekashaw T, Endale T, Belete T, Ashenafi T. Sero-prevalence of latent Toxoplasma gondii infection among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected people in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: A comparative cross-sectional study. BMC Res Notes. 2009;2:213.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. CSA (Ethiopia) and ICF international (USA). Ethiopian demgraphic and health survey (EDHS). Addis Ababa Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland: Central statistical agency and ICF international; 2011.

  20. Masuy-Stroobant G. The determinant of infant mortality: how far are conceptual frameworks really modeled? Universite Catholique de Louvain. 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Carral L, Kaufer F, Olejnik P, Freuler C, Durlach R. Prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis in a Buenos Aires hospital. Medicina (B Aires). 2013;73:238–42.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Wallon M, Peyron F, Cornu C, Vinault S, Abrahamowicz M, Kopp CB. Congenital Toxoplasma infection: monthly prenatal screening decreases transmission rate and improves clinical outcome at age 3 years. Clin Infect Dis. 2013;56:1223–31.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. AI-Mohammad HI, Amin TT, Balaha MH, AI-Moghannum MS. Toxoplasmosis among the pregnant women attending a Saudi maternity hospital: seroprevalence and possible risk factors. Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2010;104:493–504.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Anna LN, Jules CNA, Dickson SN, Henri LK, Peter FN, Vuchas CY. Sero-prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among pregnant women in Cameroon. J Pub Health Afr. 2011;2:98–101.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Zemene E, Delenasaw Y, Solomon A, Tariku B, Abdi S, Ahmed Z. Sero-prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Jimma town, Southwestern Ethiopia. BMC Infect Dis. 2012;12:337–243.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Thrusfield M. Veterinary Epidemiology. 3rd ed. Oxford: Black well science ltd; 2007. p. 152–266.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Agmas B, Tesfaye R, Koye N.D. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Debre Tabor, Northwest Ethiopia; BMC Research Notes. 2015; doi10.1186/s13104-015-1083-2

  28. Ayi I, Edu SA, Apea-Kubi KA, Boamah D, Bosompem KM, Edoh D. Sero- epidemiology of toxoplasmosis amongst pregnant women in the greater accra region of ghana. Ghana Med J. 2009;43:107–14.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. Pappas G, Roussos N, Falagas ME. Toxoplasmosis snapshots: global status of Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence and implications for pregnancy and congenital toxoplasmosis. Int J Parasitol. 2009;39:1385–94.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Dubey JP, Jones JL. Toxoplasma gondii infection in humans and animals in the United States. Int J Parasitol. 2008;38:1257–78.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Lopes FM, Mitsuka-Bregano R, Gonalves DD, Freire RL, Karigyo CJ. Factors associated with seropositivity for anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in pregnant women of Londrina, Parana, Brazil. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2009;104:378–82.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Tenter AM, Heckeroth AR, Weiss LM. Toxoplasma gondii: from animals to humans. Int JParasitol. 2000;30:1217–58.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Remington JS, McLeod R, Thulliez P, Desmonts G. Toxoplasmosis. In: Remington JS, Klein JO, Wilson CB, Baker CJ, editors. InInfectious diseases of the fetus and newborn infant. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders; 2006. p. 947–1081.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  34. Kistiah KBA, Winiecka-Krusnell J, Karstaedt A, Frean J. Sero-prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in HIV-positive and HIV-negative subjects in Gauteng, South Africa. South Afr J Epidemiol Infect. 2011;26:225–8.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Nijem KA-AS. Seroprevalence and associated risk factors of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Hebron district, Palestine. EastMediterr Health J. 2009;15:1279–84.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Gao XJ, Zhao ZJ, He ZH, Wang T, Yang TB, Chen XG, et al. Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women in China. Parasitology. 2012;139:139–47.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Vaz RS, Thomaz-Soccol V, Sumikawa E, Guimaraes AT. Serological prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in pregnant women from southern Brazil. Parasitol Res. 2010;106:661–5.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Elnahas A, Gerais AS, Elbashir MI, Eldien ES, Adam I. Toxoplasmosis in pregnant Sudanese women. Saudi Med J. 2003;24:868–70.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. El Mansouri B, Rhajaoui M, Sebti F, Amarir F, Laboudi M, Bchitou R, et al. Seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Rabat. Morocco. Bull Soc Pathol Exot. 2007;100:289–90.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Avelino MM, Dioclecio CJ, Josetti BDP, Ana MDC. Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Women of Childbearing Age. Braz J Inf Dis. 2004;8:164–74.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Al-Hamdani M, Mahdi N. Toxoplasmosis among women with habitual abortion. EMHJ. 1997;3:310–5.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Lin YL, Liao YS, Liao LR, Chen FN, Kuo HM, He S. Seroprevalence and sources of Toxoplasma infection among indigenous and immigrant pregnant women in Taiwan. Parasitol Res. 2008;103:67–74.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Maggi P, Volpe A, Carito V, Schinaia N, Bino S. Surveillance of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Albania. New Microbiol. 2009;32:89–92.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Jones JL, Krueger A, Schulkin J, Schantz PM. Toxoplasmosis prevention and testing in pregnancy, survey of obstetrician-gynaecologists. Z Pub Health. 2010;57:27–33.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. Edelhofer R, Prossinger H. Infection with Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy: sero-epidemiological studies in Austria. Z Pub Health. 2010;57:18–26.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  46. Nash JQ, Chissel S, Jones J, Warburton F, Verlander NQ. Risk factors for toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Kent, United Kingdom. Epidemiol Infect. 2005;133:475–83.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  47. Cademartori BG, Farias NAR, Brod CS. Soroprevalencia e fatores de risco a infecao por Toxoplasma gondii emgestantes de Pelotas, Sul do Brasil. Rev Panam Infectol. 2008;10:30–5.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Ghoneim NSS, Hassanain N, Zeedan G, Soliman Y, Abdalhamed A. Detection of genomic Toxoplasma gondii DNA and anti-Toxoplasma antibodies in high risk women and contact animals. Glob Vet. 2009;3:395–400.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  49. Ishaku BS, Ajogi I, Umoh JU, Lawal I, Randawa AJ. Seroprevalence and risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection among antenatal women in Zaria, Nigeria. Res J Med Med Sci. 2009;4:483–8.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Mwambe B, Stephen EM, Benson RK, Anthony NM, Humphrey DM, Denna M, Charles M. Sero-prevalence and factors associated withToxoplasma gondii infection among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Mwanza, Tanzania. Parasites Vectors. 2013;6:222–7.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  51. Dubey JP. Sources of Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnancy. Until rates of congenital toxoplasmosis fall, control measures are essential. BMJ. 2000;321:127–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  52. Barbosa IR, Holanda CMCX, de Andrade-Neto VF. Toxoplasmosis screening and risk factors amongst pregnant females in Natal, northeastern Brazil. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009;103:377–82.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  53. Dias RCF, Lopes-mori FMR, Mitsuka-bregano R, Dias RAF, Tokano DV, Reiche EMV, et al. Factors associated to infection by Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women attended in Basic Health Units in the city of Rolandia, Parana, Brazil. Rev Inst Med Trop. 2011;53:185–91. Sao Paulo.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Spalding SM, Amendoeira MRR, Klein CH, Ribeiro LC. Serological screening and toxoplasmosis exposure factors among pregnant women in South of Brazil. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2005;38:173–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  55. Liu Q, Wei F, Gao S, Jiang L, Lian H, Yuan B. Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women in China. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2009;103:162–6.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  56. Al-Harthi SA, Jamjoom MB, Ghaz HO. Sero-prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii among pregnant women in Makkah, Saudi Arabia; Umm Al-qura univ. J Sci Med Eng. 2006;18:217–27.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Negash T, Tilahun G, Medhin G. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Nazareth town, Ethiopia. East Afr J Public Health. 2008;5:211–4.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Yimer E, Abebe P, Kassahun J, Woldemical T, Bekele A, Zewudie B, Beyene M. Sero-prevalence of human toxoplasmosis in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiop Vet J. 2005;9:109–22.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Cook AJ, Gilbert RE, Buffolano W. Sources of Toxoplasma infection in pregnant women: a European multicenter case–control study. Br Med J. 2000;15:142–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Valuable thanks will be extended to Mizan Aman General Hospital for provision data regarding to the study and health professionals working in the hospital for their co-operation during data collection.


The research was done by funding from Mizan-Tepi University.

Availability of data and materials

The datasets analysed during the current study is available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Authors’ contributions

FA and HA contributed in planning and organizing the study, collecting and analyzing the data, drafting the manuscript, reviewing and approving the final manuscript for publication.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Consent for publication

This part is not applicable because the manuscript contains no any individual person’s data in any form (including individual details, images or videos).

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The research was approved by research ethics Committee of College of Health Sciences, Mizan-Tepi University, before data collection. Permission was obtained from Mizan-Aman general hospital to get access to blood sample collected by the hospital for the purpose of routine care. For the exit interview with pregnant women; verbal consent was sought from each eligible woman at ANC clinic. The objective and benefits of the study were explained in a language they can understand. Study participants were informed that the study would not have any risks. Furthermore, items seeking personal information (like name, phone number and identification numbers) were kept confidential.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fira Abamecha.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Abamecha, F., Awel, H. Seroprevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women following antenatal care at Mizan Aman General Hospital, Bench Maji Zone (BMZ), Ethiopia. BMC Infect Dis 16, 460 (2016).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: