Open Access Research article

Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Jimma town, Southwestern Ethiopia

Endalew Zemene1*, Delenasaw Yewhalaw2, Solomon Abera1, Tariku Belay1, Abdi Samuel3 and Ahmed Zeynudin1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Pathology, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

2 Department of Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia

3 Program of Medical Laboratory Science, Department of Medical Sciences, College of Medical and Health Sciences, Wollega University, Nekemte, Ethiopia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:337  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-337

Published: 5 December 2012



Toxoplasmosis is a common parasitic infection caused by an obligate intracellular protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii. If primary toxoplasmosis occurs during pregnancy about one third of the cases could lead to congenital toxoplasmosis, with subsequent pathological effects. This study aimed at determining the seroprevalence of T. gondii among pregnant women in Jimma town, Southwest Ethiopia.


A community based cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the seroprevalence and associated factors in pregnant women from August to September, 2011. A total of 201 study participants were included in this study. Data on socio-demographic and predisposing factors were collected from each study participant. Moreover, venous blood specimens were collected following Standard Operating Procedures. All the collected specimens were tested for IgM and IgG anti-T. gondii antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


The overall seroprevalence of T. gondii in the study area was 83.6%. One hundred and sixty three (81.1%) of the pregnant women were IgG seropositive, five (2.5%) were IgM seropositive. Three of the 5 pregnant women were positive for both IgG and IgM. Presence of domestic cat at home showed significant association with anti-T. gondii seropositivity (OR = 5.82, 95% CI: 1.61- 20.99; p < 0.05).


The seroprevalence of T. gondii antibodies was high among the pregnant women. Pregnant women having domestic cat at their home were at higher risk of T. gondii infection. Hence, health education and awareness on the disease and its transmission to women of reproductive age group in general and pregnant women in particular should be created during antenatal follow up to reduce the risk of T. gondii infection in pregnant women.

Seroprevalence; Pregnant women; T. gondii; Ethiopia