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Glob J Health Sci. 2013 Jun 21;5(5):131-43. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v5n5p131.

Toxoplasmosis preventive behavior and related knowledge among Saudi pregnant women: an exploratory study.

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Cairo University.



Many cases of congenital toxoplasmosis can be prevented provided that pregnant women following hygienic measures to avert risk of infection and to reduce severity of the condition if primary prevention failed.


This descriptive exploratory study aimed to assess the risk behavior and knowledge related to toxoplasmoisis among Saudi pregnant women attending primary health care centers (PHCs) in Al Hassa, Saudi Arabia and to determine socio-demographic characteristics related to risk behavior and knowledge.


All Saudi pregnant women attending antenatal care at randomly selected six urban and four rural PHCs were approached. Those agreed to participate were interviewed using a pre-tested structured questionnaire collecting data regarding socio-demographic, obstetric history, toxoplasmosis risk behaviors and related knowledge.


Of the included pregnant women, 234 (26.8%) have fulfilled the criteria for toxoplasmosis preventive behavior recommended by Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to prevent congenital toxoplasmosis, while 48.9% reported at least one risk behavior and 24.3% reported ? two risk behaviors. Logistic regression model revealed that pregnant women aged 20 to < 30 years and those with previous history of unfavorable pregnancy outcome were more likely to follow toxoplasmosis preventive behavior. Toxoplasmosis-related knowledge showed that many women had identified the role of cats in disease transmission while failed to identify other risk factors including consumption of undercooked meats, unwashed fruits and vegetables, and contacting with soil. Predictors for pregnant women to be knowledgeable towards toxoplasmosis included those aged 30 to <40 years (OR=1.53), with ? secondary education (OR=1.96), had previous unfavorable pregnancy outcomes (OR=1.88) and investigated for toxoplasmosis (OR=2.08) as reveled by multivariate regression model.


Pregnant women in Al Hasas, Saudi Arabia, are substantially vulnerable to toxoplasmosis infection as they are lacking the necessary preventive behavior. A sizable portion have no sufficient knowledge for primary prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis, health education at primary care is necessary to avert the potential toxoplasmosis related complications especially in the neonates.

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