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      Toxoplasmosis—Awareness and Knowledge of Pregnant Women in Rural Areas of Malakand Region, Pakistan


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          The current study was carried out between October 2017 and October 2018 to explore knowledge, attitudes, practices, and information sources regarding toxoplasmosis among pregnant women in Malakand region, the northwestern part of Pakistan. The current study was carried out between October 2017 and October 2018.


          A structured questionnaire was used to interview the women after taking verbal informed consent. Graphpad version 5 was used to indicate the differences. Significant was considered as a P-value of less than 0.05. This study revealed poor knowledge regarding toxoplasmosis.


          Overall, 31.2% of the respondents showed good knowledge, and 39.2% showed moderate knowledge. On the other hand, 29.5% of the participants showed poor knowledge about toxoplasmosis. The average knowledge score of pregnant women was 79 ± 12.2, which is considered to be within the scale of good knowledge. Number of children within the pregnant multipara women was significantly associated with knowledge about toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women who measured in number of childbirths within a women showed the highest mean score of 42.3 ± 13.3 with 57 (44.8%) displaying a good knowledge level. Pregnant women with more than one child had significantly higher (<0.0001) knowledge scores compared to women with one child or none child. The majority of pregnant women with one child used the social media, followed by mass media as sources of information about toxoplasmosis. Scientific sources of information were used more commonly by pregnant women with none of the child birth.


          Pregnant women knowledge regarding toxoplasmosis was poor as compared to attitudes and practices. Health workers and newspapers/magazines were the main sources of information.

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          Most cited references29

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          Epidemiology of and diagnostic strategies for toxoplasmosis.

          The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii was discovered a little over 100 years ago, but knowledge of its biological life cycle and its medical importance has grown in the last 40 years. This obligate intracellular parasite was identified early as a pathogen responsible for congenital infection, but its clinical expression and the importance of reactivations of infections in immunocompromised patients were recognized later, in the era of organ transplantation and HIV infection. Recent knowledge of host cell-parasite interactions and of parasite virulence has brought new insights into the comprehension of the pathophysiology of infection. In this review, we focus on epidemiological and diagnostic aspects, putting them in perspective with current knowledge of parasite genotypes. In particular, we provide critical information on diagnostic methods according to the patient's background and discuss the implementation of screening tools for congenital toxoplasmosis according to health policies.
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            Risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in the United States.

            Toxoplasmosis can cause severe ocular and neurological disease. We sought to determine risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in the United States. We conducted a case-control study of adults recently infected with T. gondii. Case patients were selected from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Toxoplasma Serology Laboratory from August 2002 through May 2007; control patients were randomly selected from among T. gondii-seronegative persons. Data were obtained from serological testing and patient questionnaires. We evaluated 148 case patients with recent T. gondii infection and 413 control patients. In multivariate analysis, an elevated risk of recent T. gondii infection was associated with the following factors: eating raw ground beef (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.67; 95% confidence limits [CLs], 2.09, 21.24; attributable risk [AR], 7%); eating rare lamb (aOR, 8.39; 95% CLs, 3.68, 19.16; AR, 20%); eating locally produced cured, dried, or smoked meat (aOR, 1.97; 95% CLs, 1.18, 3.28; AR, 22%); working with meat (aOR, 3.15; 95% CLs, 1.09, 9.10; AR, 5%); drinking unpasteurized goat's milk (aOR, 5.09; 95% CLs, 1.45, 17.80; AR, 4%); and having 3 or more kittens (aOR, 27.89; 95% CLs, 5.72, 135.86; AR, 10%). Eating raw oysters, clams, or mussels (aOR, 2.22; 95% CLs, 1.07, 4.61; AR, 16%) was significant in a separate model among persons asked this question. Subgroup results are also provided for women and for pregnant women. In the United States, exposure to certain raw or undercooked foods and exposure to kittens are risk factors for T. gondii infection. Knowledge of these risk factors will help to target prevention efforts.
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              Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis and typing of Toxoplasma gondii

              Toxoplasmosis, caused by the obligate intracellular protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, is an important zoonosis with medical and veterinary importance worldwide. The disease is mainly contracted by ingesting undercooked or raw meat containing viable tissue cysts, or by ingesting food or water contaminated with oocysts. The diagnosis and genetic characterization of T. gondii infection is crucial for the surveillance, prevention and control of toxoplasmosis. Traditional approaches for the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis include etiological, immunological and imaging techniques. Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis has been improved by the emergence of molecular technologies to amplify parasite nucleic acids. Among these, polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based molecular techniques have been useful for the genetic characterization of T. gondii. Serotyping methods based on polymorphic polypeptides have the potential to become the choice for typing T. gondii in humans and animals. In this review, we summarize conventional non-DNA-based diagnostic methods, and the DNA-based molecular techniques for the diagnosis and genetic characterization of T. gondii. These techniques have provided foundations for further development of more effective and accurate detection of T. gondii infection. These advances will contribute to an improved understanding of the epidemiology, prevention and control of toxoplasmosis.

                Author and article information

                J Parasitol Res
                J Parasitol Res
                Journal of Parasitology Research
                13 May 2023
                : 2023
                : 4603066
                1Department of Zoology, University of Malakand, Lower Dir, Pakistan
                2Department of Zoology, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Pakistan
                3King Abdulaziz University, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
                4Universidad Catolica de Temuco, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Departmento de Ciancias Biologicas Quimicas Casella 15-D, Temuco, Chile
                5Núcleo de Estudios Ambientales UC Temuco, Casilla, Temuco, Chile
                6Department of Zoology, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan
                7Department of Biology, College of Science, Qassim University, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: José F. Silveira

                Author information
                Copyright © 2023 Wali Khan et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 17 August 2022
                : 1 February 2023
                : 11 March 2023
                Research Article



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