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J Food Prot. 2015 Jun;78(6):1161-6. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-579.

Toxoplasmosis-Related Knowledge and Preventive Practices among Undergraduate Female Students in Jordan.

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Department of Maternal and Child Health, Faculty of Nursing, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan.
Department of Veterinary Pathology and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan.


Foodborne toxoplasmosis is a leading cause of foodborne deaths and hospitalization worldwide. The level of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii is influenced by culture and eating habits. There is a scarcity of data about women's knowledge and perception of this disease. The aim of this study was to determine toxoplasmosis knowledge and preventive practices of young childbearing age women in Jordan. A descriptive cross-sectional study recruited a random sample of 1,390 undergraduate university female students and was stratified based on place of residency. About half of students (51.1%) reported having "ever" heard or read about toxoplasmosis, and almost all students (98.6%) had never been tested for toxoplasmosis. Overall, there was a lack of awareness about toxoplasmosis, its risk factors, symptoms, and timing of infection, and preventive practices. High percentages of females reported a high level of hygienic practices related to hand washing after gardening, changing cat litter, and handling raw meat. However, 16.7% of students reported eating raw meat, 26.5% usually eat traditional herbs, and 17.2% drink untreated spring water. This study establishes a baseline for the awareness levels about toxoplasmosis among young women in Jordan. These findings highlight the urgent need for toxoplasmosis awareness and preventive education for childbearing females. An effective education and outreach program should cover important topics concerning risk factors, high-risk foods, and preventive measures against toxoplasmosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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