Sero-epidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii among men and pregnant women in Maysan Province, south of Iraq



Toxoplasma gondii is worldwide and obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. The seroprevalence information of toxoplasmosis in the southern area of Iraq is limited, therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of T. gondii in men and pregnant women in Al-Majar Al-Kabir and Ali Al-Sharqi towns that are both located at Maysan Province in the South of Iraq. The study was conducted between January and May 2018 and included randomly chosen pregnant women, data on sociodemographic and predisposing parameters was collected from each participant. Venous blood samples were collected. Based on the results, the overall seroprevalence of T. gondii in the study areas was 20%. It showed that the 20-29 years’ age group has the highest infection rate (31.25%). The distribution rate of T. gondii was higher among women than men and the prevalence of toxoplasmosis has no relationship with the handling of raw meat or the presence of cats in houses. The current study reveals a significant relationship between the T. gondii infection and abortion rates. A health education platform for awareness in the Maysan Province needs to be maintained and developed to target pregnant women.


Dieses, Gender, Abortion, Parasite.

Full Text:



Afonso, E.; Thulliez, P. & Gilot-Fromont, E. 2006. Transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in an urban population of domestic cats (Felis catus). International journal for parasitology 36(13): 1373-1382.

Ahmed, M.M. 1992. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma infection in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 22(2): 407-413.

Al Hamdani, M.M. & Mahdi, N.K. 1997. Toxoplasmosis among women with habitual abortion. EMHJ-Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 3(2): 310-315.

Ali, A.T.; Mahdi, D.S. & Awad, A.H. 2019. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in aborted women using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in Thi-Qar province, Iraq. International Journal of Advanced Research 7(1): 629-635.

Al-Jebouri, M.; Al-Janabi, M. & Ismail, H. 2013. The prevalence of toxoplasmosis among female patients in Al-Hawija and Al-Baiji Districts in Iraq. Open Journal of Epidemiology 3: 85-88.

Al Kalaby, R.F.; Sultan, B.A. & AL-Fatlawi, S.N. 2016. Relationship between Toxoplasma gondii and abortion in aborted women in Najaf province. Journal of Kerbala University 14: 177-185.

Al-Maamuri, S.D.H. 2014. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasmosis in a sample of Iraqi schizophrenic patients. M.Sc. Thesis. College of Science University of Baghdad. 118 p.

Almasian, R.; Almasian, M. & Zibaei, M. 2014. Sero-Epidemiology of Toxoplasmosis among the People of Khorram Abad, Iran. Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy 2: 159.

Al-Mendalawi, M.D. & Barah, F. 2011. Prevalence of IgG antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii among Syrian females of childbearing age. Saudi Medical Journal 32(11): 1210.

Al-Mosawi, A.M.A. 2012. Immunoepidemiological study of toxoplasmosis among women in Babylon Province (Doctoral dissertation, Ph.D. Thesis. College of Science. University of Babylon.

AL-Sadoon, M.A.; Nasir, M.A.; Yasir, E.T.; Khalaf, A.O. & Kadim, S.J. 2018. Toxoplasmosis and risk factors among female students of medical colleges at Basra University, Iraq. Biomedical and Pharmacology Journal 11(4): 2117-2122.

Al-Sray, A.H.; Sarhan, S.R. & Mohammed, H.A. 2019. Molecular and serological characterization of toxoplasma gondii in women in Wasit Province. Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences 7(8): 657-663.

Aqeely, H.; El-Gayar, E.K.; Perveen Khan, D.; Najmi, A.; Alvi, A.; Bani, I. & Elhassan, I.M. 2014. Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii amongst pregnant women in Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Tropical Medicine, 2014.

Augusto, L.; Martynowicz, J.; Amin, P.H.; Alakhras, N.S.; Kaplan, M.H.; Wek, R.C. & Sullivan, W.J. 2020. Toxoplasma gondii co-opts the unfolded protein response to enhance migration and dissemination of infected host cells. Mbio 11(4).

Behbehani, K. & Al-Karmi, T. 1980. Epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in Kuwait. I. Detection of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii and percentage distribution among the inhabitants. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 74(2): 209-212.

Berdoy, M.; Webster, J.P. & Macdonald, D.W. 2000. Fatal attraction in rats infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences 267(1452): 1591-1594.

Bigna, J.J.; Tochie, J.N.; Tounouga, D.N.; Bekolo, A.O.; Ymele, N.S.; Youda, E.L. & Nansseu, J.R. 2020. Global, regional, and country seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women: a systematic review, modelling and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports 10(1): 1-10.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Neglected parasitic infections (NPIs) in the United States.

Condoleo, R.; Rinaldi, L.; Sette, S. & Mezher, Z. 2018. Risk assessment of human toxoplasmosis associated with the consumption of pork meat in Italy. Risk Analysis 38(6): 1202-1222.

Dubey, J.P. 2008. The history of Toxoplasma gondii-the first 100 years. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 55(6): 467-475.

Cook, A.J.C.; Holliman, R.; Gilbert, R.E.; Buffolano, W.; Zufferey, J.; Petersen, E. & Dunn, D.T. 2000. Sources of toxoplasma infection in pregnant women: European multicentre case-control study Commentary: Congenital toxoplasmosis—further thought for food. British Medical Journal 321(7254): 142-147.

Dama, M.S.; Novakova, L.M. & Flegr, J. 2016. Do differences in Toxoplasma prevalence influence global variation in secondary sex ratio? Preliminary ecological regression study. Parasitology 143(9): 1193-1203.

Weiss, L.M. & Kim, K. 2011. (Eds.). Toxoplasma gondii: the model apicomplexan. Perspectives and methods. Elsevier. pp: 49-80.

Diza, E.; Frantzidou, F.; Souliou, E.; Arvanitidou, M.; Gioula, G. & Antoniadis, A. 2005. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in northern Greece during the last 20 years. Clinical Microbiology and Infection 11(9): 719-723.

Dubey, J.P.; Velmurugan, G.V.; Alvarado-Esquivel, C.; Alvarado-Esquivel, D.; Rodríguez-Peña, S.; Martínez-García, S. & Su, C. 2009. Isolation of Toxoplasma gondii from animals in Durango, Mexico. Journal of Parasitology 95(2): 319-322.

Dubey, J.P. & Beattie, C.P. 1988. Toxoplasmosis of animals and man. CRC Press, Inc.

Dubey, J.P. 2008. The history of Toxoplasma gondii—the first 100 years. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 55(6): 467-475.

Dubey, J.P. 2010. General Biology (2th Ed). Toxoplasmosis of Animals and Humans. Boca Raton, London, New York: Taylor and Francis Group. Retrieved 1 February 2019. pp: 1-20.

Dubey, J.P. & Jones, J.L. 2014. Comments on “detection of Toxoplasma gondii in raw caprine, ovine, buffalo, bovine, and camel milk using cell cultivation, cat bioassay, capture ELISA, and PCR methods in Iran.” Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 11: 500-501.

Dubey, J.P.; Calero-Bernal, R.; Rosenthal, B.M.; Speer, C.A. & Fayer, R. 2016. Sarcocystosis of Animals and Humans. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Duszynski, D.W.; Couch, L. & Upton, S. J. 2000. Coccidia (Eimeriidae) of Canidae and Felidae. Supported by NSF-PEET DEB, 9521687.

Fallah, M.; Rabiee, S.; Matini, M. & Taherkhani, H. 2008. Seroepidemiology of toxoplasmosis in primigravida women in Hamadan, Islamic Republic of Iran, 2004. EMHJ-Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 14 (1): 163-171.

Flegr, J.; Prandota, J.; Sovičková, M. & Israili, Z.H. 2014. Toxoplasmosis–a global threat. Correlation of latent toxoplasmosis with specific disease burden in a set of 88 countries. PloS one 9(3): e90203.

Flegr, J. 2013. Influence of latent Toxoplasma infection on human personality, physiology and morphology: pros and cons of the Toxoplasma–human model in studying the manipulation hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Biology 216(1): 127-133.

Flegr, J. & Kaňková, Š. 2020. The effects of toxoplasmosis on sex ratio at birth. Early Human Development 141: 104874.

Gelaye, W.; Kebede, T. & Hailu, A. 2015. High prevalence of anti-toxoplasma antibodies and absence of Toxoplasma gondii infection risk factors among pregnant women attending routine antenatal care in two Hospitals of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. International Journal of Infectious Diseases 34: 41-45.

Hadi, F.H. & Al-Omashi, G.B. 2018. Incidence study for Toxoplasma gondii depending on molecular and immunological characterization in recurrent aborted women. MSc. Thesis. College of Medical University of Al-Qadisiyah.

Hadi, H.S.; Kadhim, R.A. & Al-Mammori, R.T. 2016. Seroepidemiological aspects for Toxoplasma gondii infection in women of Qadisiyah province, Iraq. International Journal of PharmTech Research 9(11): 252-259.

Han, K.; Shin, D.W.; Lee, T.Y. & Lee, Y.H. 2008. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection and risk factors associated with seropositivity of pregnant women in Korea. Journal of Parasitology 94(4): 963-965.

Higa, L.T.; Araújo, S. M.; Tsuneto, L.; Castilho-Pelloso, M.; Garcia, J.L.; Santana, R.G. & Falavigna-Guilherme, A.L. 2010. A prospective study of Toxoplasma-positive pregnant women in southern Brazil: a health alert. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 104(6): 400-405.

Hussein, N. & Balatay, A.A. 2019. The Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma, Cytomegalovirus and Rubella Infections in Women with Abortion in Kurdistan Region of Iraq: A Brief Report. International Journal of Infection 6(1).

Innes, E.A. 2010. Vaccination against Toxoplasma gondii: an increasing priority for collaborative research? Expert Review of Vaccines 9(10): 1117-1119.

Salih, J.M.; Mero, W.M. & Eassa, S.H. 2020. Seroprevalence and some demographic factors associated with Toxoplasma gondii infection among male population in Duhok Province/Iraq. Baghdad Science Journal 17(2).

Jones, J.L. & Dubey, J.P. 2012. Foodborne toxoplasmosis. Clinical Infectious Diseases 55(6): 845-851.

Jones, J.L.; Kruszon-Moran, D.; Wilson, M.; McQuillan, G.; Navin, T. & McAuley, J.B. 2001. Toxoplasma gondii infection in the United States: seroprevalence and risk factors. American Journal of Epidemiology 154(4): 357-365.

Kaňková, Š. & Flegr, J. 2007. Longer pregnancy and slower fetal development in women with latent" asymptomatic" toxoplasmosis. BMC Infectious Diseases 7(1): 1-7.

Kapperud, G.; Jenum, P.A.; Stray-Pedersen, B.; Melby, K.K.; Eskild, A. & Eng, J. 1996. Risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnancy: results of a prospective case-control study in Norway. American Journal of Epidemiology 144(4): 405-412.

Khurana, S. & Batra, N. 2016. Toxoplasmosis in organ transplant recipients: Evaluation, implication, and prevention. Tropical Parasitology 6(2): 123.

Leech, N.L.; Barrett, K.C. & Morgan, G.A. 2011. IBM SPSS for Intermediate statistics. 4th ed. Taylor and Francis Group. LLC. USA.

Lindsay, D.S. & Dubey, J.P. 2020. Toxoplasmosis in wild and domestic animals. In Toxoplasma gondii. Academic Press. pp: 293-320.

Milne, G.; Webster, J.P. & Walker, M. 2020. Toxoplasma gondii: an underestimated threat? Trends in Parasitology 36(12): 959-969.

Ministry of Environment, 2004. Fifth National Report on Convention Biological Diversity, Iraq, March 2014: 174 p.

Mero, W.M.S. 2020. Seroprevalence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies among women of childbearing age in Zakho City, Kurdistan Region/Iraq. Zanco Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences 32(3): 75-84.

Mohammad, M.; Ahmed, S. & Hussain, A. 2013. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii between couples in Ramadi city using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). International Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 5(6): 295-299.

Mulugeta, S.; Munshea, A. & Nibret, E. 2020. Seroprevalence of Anti–Toxoplasma gondii antibodies and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal care at Debre Markos referral hospital, Northwest Ethiopia. Infectious Diseases: Research and Treatment 13: 1178633720948872.

Nash, J.Q.; Chissel, S.; Jones, J.; Warburton, F. & Verlander, N.Q. 2005. Risk factors for toxoplasmosis in pregnant women in Kent, United Kingdom. Epidemiology ANF Infection 133(3): 475-483.

Negash, T.; Tilahun, G. & Medhin, G. 2008. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in Nazareth town, Ethiopia. East African Journal of Public Health 5(3): 211-214.

Oz, H.S. 2014. Maternal and congenital toxoplasmosis, currently available and novel therapies in horizon. Frontiers in Microbiology 5: 385.

Pappas, G.; Roussos, N. & Falagas, M.E. 2009. Toxoplasmosis snapshots: global status of Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence and implications for pregnancy and congenital toxoplasmosis. International Journal for Parasitology 39(12): 1385-1394.

Paul, M. 1998. Potential risk factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in cases with recently acquired toxoplasmosis. Przeglad Epidemiologiczny 52(4): 447-454.

Portela, R.W.; Bethony, J.; Costa, M.I.; Gazzinelli, A.; Vitor, R.W.; Hermeto, F.M. & Gazzinelli, R.T. 2004. A multihousehold study reveals a positive correlation between age, severity of ocular toxoplasmosis, and levels of glycoinositolphospholipid-specific immunoglobulin A. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 190(1): 175-183.

Rascón-Careaga, A.; Hernández-Tinoco, J.; Corella-Madueño, M.A.G.; Sánchez-Anguiano, L.F.; Aldana-Madrid, M.L.; Velasquez-Vega, E.; Quizán-Plata, T.; Navarro-Henze, J.L.; Badell-Luzardo, J.A.; Gastélum-Cano, J.M. & Liesenfeld, O. 2016. Seroprevalence and Associated Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection in healthy blood donors: a cross-sectional study in Sonora, Mexico, BioMed Research International 8: 9597276.

Robinson, E.; de Valk, H.; Villena, I.; Le Strat, Y. & Tourdjman, M. 2021. National perinatal survey demonstrates a decreasing seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection among pregnant women in France, 1995 to 2016: impact for screening policy. Eurosurveillance 26(5): 1900710.

Saleh, M.A. 2011. Determination of antibodies (IgG, IgM) against Toxoplasma gondii in some Iraqi individuals by using ELISA technique. Baghdad Science Journal 4: 940-946.

Salih, J.M.; Mero, W.M. & Eassa, S.H. 2020. Seroprevalence and some Demographic Factors Associated with Toxoplasma gondii Infection among Male Population in Duhok Province/Iraq. Baghdad Science Journal 17(2).

Sarkari, B.; Shafiei, R.; Zare, M.; Sohrabpour, S. & Kasraian, L. 2014. Seroprevalence and molecular diagnosis of Toxoplasma gondii infection among blood donors in southern Iran. The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 8(04): 543-547.

Shahatha S.S. 2017. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii parasite and their causes in Al- Ramadi city Al- Anbar governorate. Iraqi Journal of Desert Studies 7(1):109-116.

Simon, J.A.; Kurdzielewicz, S.; Jeanniot, E.; Dupuis, E.; Marnef, F.; Aubert, D. & Poulle, M.L. 2017. Spatial distribution of soil contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii oocysts in relation to the distribution and use of domestic cat defecation sites on dairy farms. International Journal for Parasitology 47(6): 357-367.

Song, K.J.; Shin, J.C.; Shin, H.J. & Nam, H.W. 2005. Seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in Korean pregnant women. The Korean Journal of Parasitology 43(2): 69.

Tenter, A.M.; Heckeroth, A.R., & Weiss, L.M. 2000. Toxoplasma gondii: from animals to humans. International Journal for Parasitology 30(12-13): 1217-1258.

Torgerson, P.R.; Devleesschauwer, B.; Praet, N.; Speybroeck, N.; Willingham, A.L.; Kasuga, F. & De Silva, N. 2015. World Health Organization estimates of the global and regional disease burden of 11 foodborne parasitic diseases, 2010: a data synthesis. PLoS Medicine 12(12): e1001920.

Wilking, H.; Thamm, M.; Stark, K.; Aebischer, T. & Seeber, F. 2016. Prevalence, incidence estimations and risk factors of Toxoplasma gondii infection in Germany: a representative, cross-sectional, serological study. Scientific Reports 6(1): 1-9.

Yacoub, A.A.H.; Bakr, S.; Hameed, A.M.; Al Thamery, A.A.A. & Fartoci, M.J. 2006. Seroepidemiology of selected zoonotic infections in Basra region of Iraq. EMHJ-Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 12(1-2): 112-118.

Zemene, E.; Yewhalaw, D.; Abera, S.; Belay, T.; Samuel, A. & Zeynudin, A. 2012. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and associated risk factors among pregnant women in Jimma town, Southwestern Ethiopia. BMC Infectious Diseases 12(1): 1-6.


  • There are currently no refbacks.