Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection amongst residents of Tanga District in north-east Tanzania
Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease, recognized as a serious public health problem worldwide. Toxoplasma gondii infection has become a major public health concern in recent years due to the ravaging HIV/AIDS pandemic. A serological survey was carried out in Tanga district of north-eastern Tanzania to assess T. gondii infection rates among occupationally-exposed groups including abattoir workers, livestock keepers, animal health workers and other groups. The survey was undertaken in November 2005 using modified Eiken latex agglutination test (LAT). Antibodies to T. gondii were detected in 91 (46%) of the 199 individuals studied. T. gondii seroprevalence was slightly higher amongst males (46.2%) than females (43.3%) although the difference was not significant (P> 0.05). Individuals, ≤20 and ≥60 years old had the highest prevalence of 60% and 61.5%, respectively. The lowest prevalence of (35.7%) was observed amongst the 50-60 years age group. The seroprevalence of toxoplasma antibodies was significantly higher amongst individuals who keep livestock (52.2%) and abattoir workers (46.3%). These results suggest exposure to T. gondii infection is present among residents of Tanga district in Tanzania and strengthen further on previous findings that consumption of raw or undercooked meat and keeping pets especially cats presents more of the risk factors than occupational groups. It also emphasizes on the necessity to create awareness of this disease, and advocate protection of risky groups from exposure to infected meat and contaminated environment.
Key words: occupational group, seroprevalence, Toxoplasma gondii, Tanzania