Toxoplasmosis: an examination of knowledge among health professionals and pregnant women in a municipality of the State of Paraná


Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop.




Introduction The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge of toxoplasmosis among professionals and pregnant women in the public health services in Paraná, Brazil. Methods A cross-sectional observational and transversal study of 80 health professionals (44 nurses and 36 physicians) and 330 pregnant women [111 immunoglobulin M (IgM)- and IgG-non-reactive and 219 IgG-reactive] was conducted in 2010. An epidemiological data questionnaire was administered to the professionals and to the pregnant women, and a questionnaire about the clinical aspects and laboratory diagnosis of toxoplasmosis was administered to the professionals. Results The participants frequently provided correct responses about prophylactic measures. Regarding the clinical and laboratory aspects, the physicians provided more correct responses and discussed toxoplasmosis with the pregnant women. The professionals had difficulty interpreting the avidity test results, and the physicians stated that they referred pregnant women with high-risk pregnancies to a county reference center. Of the professionals, 53 (91.4%) reported that they instructed women during prenatal care, but only 54 (48.6%) at-risk pregnant women and 99 (45.2%) women who were not at risk reported receiving information about preventive measures. The physicians provided verbal instructions to 120 (78.4%) women, although instructional materials were available in the county. The pregnant women generally lacked knowledge about preventive measures for congenital toxoplasmosis, but the at-risk pregnant women tended to respond correctly. Conclusions This study provides data to direct public health policies regarding the importance of updating the knowledge of primary care professionals. Mechanisms should be developed to increase public knowledge because prophylactic strategies are important for preventing congenital toxoplasmosis.

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