Congenital toxoplasmosis: perception of knowledge and primary prevention measures among healthcare professionals and pregnant women treated in public healthcare facilities

Fernanda Loureiro de Moura, Patricia Riddell Millar, Ana Beatriz Monteiro Fonseca, Maria Regina Reis Amendoeira

Abstract


DOI: 10.15448/1980-6108.2017.1.25389

Aims: To evaluate knowledge about toxoplasmosis among pregnant women and healthcare professionals and to evaluate the knowledge acquired by pregnant women after health education actions.  

Methods: Five hundred pregnant women and 141 healthcare professionals from health units in Niterói, state of Rio de Janeiro, answered a questionnaire, received information about toxoplasmosis and had access to an interactive educational model and to folders between 2013 and 2016. After 3 months, 145 pregnant women answered the questionnaire once again.  

Results: Of 500 pregnant women, 226 (45.2%) reported having heard about toxoplasmosis. Among these, 23.5% had obtained information from friends and 19.0% from their doctors. About their exposure to risk factors, 6.8% had had contact with cat feces; 14.0% had had contact with soil without gloves; 23.4% had ingested undercooked meat; and 24.0% had drunk unfiltered water from the public supply system. The questionnaires of 145 pregnant women before and after the educational activities were compared and showed that contact with soil without gloves dropped significantly from 11.0% to 4.8% (p = 0.022) while consumption of unfiltered water fell from 26.9% to 20.0% (p < 0.001). Washing foods (62.1%), washing hands (62.1%) and consumption of well-cooked meat (61.4%) were the most widely cited preventive measures. Many mistakes were reported among healthcare professionals, and one nursing technician and 13 community healthcare agents (9.9%) had not heard about toxoplasmosis.  

Conclusions: Lack of knowledge about toxoplasmosis by most of the interviewed pregnant women, in addition to the misconceptions observed among healthcare professionals, leads to the conclusion that little importance has been given so far to primary prevention of toxoplasmosis during the prenatal period. Also, health professionals’ inadequate knowledge could be detrimental to secondary prevention, which consists of early detection and treatment of toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. In this study, educational intervention contributed to improving knowledge about the transmission and prevention of toxoplasmosis by pregnant women and, to a lesser extent, to reducing exposure to some risk factors.  

Keywords


toxoplasmosis; pregnant women; knowledge; health education; primary prevention.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15448/1980-6108.2017.1.25389

e-ISSN: 1980-6108 | ISSN-L: 1806-5562


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