The Severity of Malaria and Toxoplasmosis Co-Infections among Pregnant Women in Yaounde, Cameroon
Journal of Scientific Research and Reports
Malaria and toxoplasmosis are two diseases caused by parasites of the same phylum (Apicomplexa). They have severe consequences on the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies. As such, they are of importance for the public health, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and Cameroon. The aim of this study was to evaluate the severity of toxoplasmosis among malaria-positive pregnant women attending the Biyam-Assi District Hospital. It was a cross-sectional study that took place from May to
... ber 2019 involving 232 pregnant women who voluntarily accepted to take part in the study. Demographic data was collected using structured questionnaires and blood was collectd by finger prick. Thick blood films were prepared for the detection of malaria and the Giemsa-stained slides were read microscopically. A drop of blood was used for the detection of toxoplasmosis using the chromatographic cassette (Rapid Diagnostic Test) and the results were read after 15 minutes. The data obtained was analysed using SPSS version 24. The results showed that the prevalence of toxoplasmosis was 22.84 %. This prevalence didn't depend on the trimester of pregnancy (P = 0. 08). The prevalence of malaria was 38.9%. No significant difference was observed for either the prevalence or severity of malaria over the three trimesters of pregnancy (p = 0.60 and p = 0.9 respectively). The prevalence of co-infection with malaria and toxoplasmosis was 9.05%. Women without toxoplasmosis were more prone to severe malaria (20.29 %) than their counterparts who had toxoplasmosis (4.78 %) and the difference between these two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.02). The severity of toxoplasmosis was not influenced by the presence of Plasmodium (p = 0. 20). It was concluded that the occurrence and severity of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women does not depend on their malaria serological status. However, the presence of severe malaria in pregnant women depends on their toxoplasmosis status. Indeed, women already infected with T. gondii are less susceptible to malaria than their counterparts who are negative for toxoplasmosis. These findings suggest that T. gondii in a person confers some form of reistance to infections with Plasmodium. It was recommended that the Public Health Ministry in Cameroon could include screening for toxoplasmosis among the routine test for pregnant women in order to improve on the health of mother and baby.