Original Research

Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among pregnant women in Windhoek, Namibia, in 2016

Berta E. van der Colf, Gert U. van Zyl, Bruce H. Noden, Dismas Ntirampeba
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 35, No 1 | a25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v35i1.25 | © 2020 Berta E. van der Colf, Gert U. van Zyl, Bruce H. Noden, Dismas Ntirampeba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2019 | Published: 13 May 2020

About the author(s)

Berta E. van der Colf, Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia
Gert U. van Zyl, Division of Medical Virology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Bruce H. Noden, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, United States
Dismas Ntirampeba, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Windhoek, Namibia


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Abstract

Background: When a pregnant woman contracts Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection during pregnancy, it may be vertically transmitted to the foetus. Information on the incidence of congenital toxoplasmosis (CT) in developing countries is scarce. Most studies focus on the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection among pregnant women. This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection among pregnant women attending public antenatal care in Windhoek, Namibia, in 2016.

Methods: In this descriptive study, 344 urban pregnant women attending public antenatal care were voluntarily enrolled in the study. Seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii Immunoglobulin G (IgG) was determined by automated immunoassay. Samples with a positive T. gondii IgG result were tested for T. gondii Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and specific IgG avidity by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. A questionnaire captured demographic data and exposure to risk factors. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and R.

Results: Anti-T. gondii IgG was found in nine (2.61%) pregnant women. There was no association of anti-T. gondii IgG with demographic characteristics or exposure to risk factors.Anti-T. gondii IgM was positive in one (0.3%) woman, while three (0.9%) women had borderline anti-T. gondii IgM results. Specific IgG avidity was low, equivocal and high in 0%, 33% and 67% of seropositive pregnant women, respectively.

Conclusion: Seroprevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG is much lower in Namibia than is reported in other developing countries. Investigation into specific IgM seropositivity and IgG avidity showed that pregnant women in the central region of Namibia are at low risk of vertical transmission and development of CT.


Keywords

Toxoplasma gondii; toxoplasmosis; seroprevalence; IgG avidity; pregnant women; Namibia.

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