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Background: Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection during pregnancy is associated with various complications for the mother and baby. In Tanzania, there is a paucity of data on exposure to T. gondii infection among pregnant women and the associated risk factors. Therefore, this study investigated the seroprevalence of T. gondii and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Ilala Municipality, Dar es Salaam.
Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out among 383 pregnant women attending antenatal health care. A five mL of blood sample was collected from each recruited pregnant woman, processed to obtain serum, and tested for the presence of IgG and IgM anti T. gondii specific antibodies. A structured questionnaire was used to gather information on the risk factors predisposing pregnant women to the infection. Data analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
Results: Of the 383 participants, 104 (27.2%) were positive for antibodies specific to T. gondii; 102 (26.63%) were positive only for IgG, and 2 (0.52%) were positive for both IgM and IgG antibodies. Significant risk factors for T. gondii infection were maternal age of 34-39 years (AOR:3.71;95% CI:1.52-9.06), eating unwashed fruits (AOR:7.39;95% CI:3.99-13.66), not washing hand with soap after meat preparation (AOR:7.53; 95% CI:3.40-16.64), consumption of undercooked meat (AOR:3.75; 95% CI:1.95-7.21), and consumption of raw vegetable (AOR: 1.99; 95% CI: 1.04- 3.80). Cat ownership was not statistically significantly associated with toxoplasmosis (AOR:1.90; 95% CI: 0.89-4.08).
Conclusions: The seroprevalence of T. gondii infection (27.2%) indicates ongoing transmission, hence the need for regular screening during antenatal care and establishment of a control programme.