Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Seroprevalence and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Kigali, Rwanda

Esperance Murebwayire, Kariuki Njanaake, Jean Claude S. Ngabonziza, Walter Jaoko, Kato J. Njunwa


Background: Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnancy, if left untreated, is associated with spontaneous abortions, low birth weight babies, congenital deformities and intrauterine deaths. The infection is also associated with human immune deficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). In Rwanda, the burden and risk factors of T. gondii infection among pregnant women and among HIV infected pregnant women is largely unknown. This cross-sectional study aimed at determining the seroprevalence of T. gondii infections and their risk factors among pregnant women in Kigali, Rwanda.

Methods: Pregnant women aged 18 years and above who were attending antenatal care at four clinics in Kigali City, between April and August 2014 were screened for IgG and IgM antibodies against T. gondii using ELISA technique. Information on their HIV status and CD4+ cell count was obtained from their medical records. Participants were also interviewed on selected behaviours that predispose individuals to T. gondii infection.

Results: A total of 384 pregnant women were involved in the study. The overall T. gondii seroprevalence was 12.2%. Of the 384 pregnant women studied, 37 (9.6%) were positive for anti-T. gondii-specific IgG antibodies, indicating past infection and 15 (3.9%) had positive IgM results indicating recent infection. Drinking untreated water and eating undercooked meat were identified as important risk factors for T. gondii infection respectively at 22.4% and 22.3% [OR=3.95, CI:2.09-7.49; p<0.001 and OR=3.27, 95% CI: 1.75-6.09; p<0.001].

Conclusion: Although the seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies is relatively low, institution of interventional measures is desirable.
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