Toxoplasmosis In South Africa- Old Disease In A New Context

Kenneth Hammond-Aryee, Monika Esser, Paul van Helden


Toxoplasmosis is one of the most widespread parasitic infections known. Clinical manifestation of toxoplasmosis because of immunosuppression is typically due to a reactivation of a chronic infection.  According to the UNAIDS 2008 report on the global AIDS epidemic, about 5.7 million South Africans were infected and living with HIV in 2007, with obvious risk and health resource implications for toxoplasmosis. T. gondii has been largely neglected as a health risk to the general population in the HIV era. Currently South Africa is burdened with ongoing HIV and TB pandemics. South Africa accounts for 17% of the global HIV burden and has a TB incidence of 950 per 100,000 as at 2012. Such high incidence of immunosuppressive infections puts the population at a high risk of opportunistic infections such as toxoplasmosis. Seroprevalence rates in Africa are high in both human and animal populations, but there are no reports on the significance of the pathogen within the food or water chain of African cultures. Future work should focus on a more systematic approach towards Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence data gathering and analysis in order to inform on effective approaches to its prevention and disease reduction, and on the molecular epidemiology of the pathogen within the South African context.

Keywords: Toxoplasma gondii, behavior, toxoplasmosis, mental health, sero-prevalence, South Africa, disease burden, HEU, HUU.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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