Seroprevalence and risk factors of toxoplasmosis in individuals attending Chipokotamayamba Clinic in Ndola, Zambia

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Daka, Victor M.
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Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic parasitic infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii. It is estimated to infect a third of the world’s population although the majority of the infections are largely asymptomatic. In HIV/ AIDS patients toxoplasmosis is capable of causing debilitating disease and is of significance when vertically transmitted to the unborn fetus causing serious disease sequale. There is limited data on the epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in Zambia which is important for shaping public health policy. In this study we determined seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii IgG among individuals attending Chipokotamayamba clinic located in Ndola, Zambia. The study was cross-sectional; employed the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) method, to determine individual serostatus to Toxoplasma gondii IgG and a structured questionnaire to collect the data on potential risk factors. Seroprevalence was determined through frequency distribution of serostatus, and statistical significance of the potential risk factors was assessed using multivariate logistic regression. Four hundred and eight (408) individuals participated in the study. Seroprevalence was 10.8%. The seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis by HIV status was 9.5% and 12.4% in HIV negative and HIV positive individuals respectively. Seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis was 9.2% among women of child bearing age (15-44 years). No statistically significant difference in T. gondii seroprevalence was demonstrated among sexes (p=0.44), occupation (p=0.58), HIV status (p=0.12) and residence (p=0.54).No significant association between T. gondii seroprevalence and history of contact with cats, cleaning the cat litter box, eating raw or undercooked vegetables, eating raw or undercooked meat and being in regular contact with soil or a soil related occupation was found. The findings from this study indicate that toxoplasmosis is endemic in the population attending Chipokotamayamba clinic and could be of clinical significance in the management of individuals at risk of cerebral and congenital toxoplasmosis. Most women attending Chipokotamayamba clinic are susceptible to acute Toxoplasma infection and should be educated about ways to minimize exposure to T. gondii. We recommend health education on ways to avoid T. gondii infection as well as regular screening for toxoplasmosis in HIV positive individuals and pregnant mothers attending Chipokotamayamba clinic. More research is needed in Zambia to clearly define the epidemiology of Toxoplasmosis.
HIV Seroprevalence , HIV Infections-Zambia