A multicenter survey on toxoplasmosis knowledge among pregnant women in Poland (the TOWER study)

Jacek Smereka, Lukasz Szarpak*, Kurt Ruetzler, Yehoshua Schacham, Adam Smereka, Marek Dabrowski, Marzena Terpilowska, Lukasz Terpilowski, Ishag Adam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii ranges widely in different areas of the world and different populations. Although toxoplasmosis is typically benign and asymptomatic, it induces major complications in immunocompromised individuals and during pregnancy. Prevention of maternal primary infection constitutes the major tool for avoiding congenital T. gondii infections and toxoplasmosis complications. The preventive measures depend on the women's knowledge about toxoplasmosis. The aim of the study was to assess the knowledge on toxoplasmosis among pregnant women in Poland. Methods: The study was conducted between October 2016 and January 2017 in 3 Polish cities. During a visit in a hospital outpatient clinic, pregnant women aged > 16 years fulfilled a previously validated questionnaire. The questions concerned personal data (age, parity, educational level, place of residence), toxoplasmosis knowledge (etiology, routes of transmission, symptoms, sequelae), and sources consulted to collect information. Results: Overall, 465 pregnant women participated in the survey; 439 (94.4%) were aware of toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis was perceived as a zoonotic disease by 77.4%, as a parasitic disease by 41.7%, as a disease transmitted through poor hand hygiene by 8.6%, as a childhood illness by 4%, and as a congenital disease by 0.4%. Regarding the transmission route, 84.5% of women pointed at a domestic cat, 46.7% at eating raw or undercooked meat. The total of 84.3% did not know toxoplasmosis symptoms, and 12.0% stated that they did not present the symptoms. In multivariate analysis, younger age (OR, 2.74; 95% CI, 1.67-4.49; p < 0.001), city residence (OR, 13.45; 95% CI, 3.12-57.89; p < 0.003), and higher education level (OR, 6.81; 95% CI, 3.69-12.59; p < 0.001) were significantly associated with better knowledge of toxoplasmosis, and the number of children (OR, 0.32; 95% CI, 0.22-0.48; p < 0.001) - with higher knowledge of the symptoms. Conclusions: Among pregnant women in Poland, the basic knowledge on toxoplasmosis is very high (94.4%). Younger age, city residence, higher education level, and the number of children turned out significantly associated with better knowledge of T. gondii and toxoplasmosis symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Pregnancy
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Toxoplasmosis

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