Male-to-female presumed transmission of toxoplasmosis between sexual partners

Hlaváčová J., Flegr J., Řežábek K., Calda P., Kaňková Š. 2020: Male-to-female presumed transmission of toxoplasmosis between sexual partners. American Journal of Epidemiology, 190(3): 386–392. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwaa198



Toxoplasmosis is one of the most widespread human parasitoses in developed countries. Sexual transmission has been confirmed in several animal species, and indirect evidence suggests it may occur in humans. We compared the seropositivity to Toxoplasma gondii in couples who visited the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Prague from June 2016 to June 2018 and analyzed various risk factors including the serological status of sexual partner. By comparing the risk factors in men and women, we tested the hypothesis of male-to-female sexual transmission of toxoplasmosis. The prevalence of toxoplasmosis in women with infected male partners (25.6%; n = 156) was higher than in women with uninfected male partners (18.2%; n = 477; P = 0.045). Therefore, a partner’s seropositivity seems to be a risk factor for infection in women (n = 593; prevalence ratio = 1.418; P = 0.045) but not in men (n = 573; prevalence ratio = 1.058; P = 0.816). Our results support the hypothesis of the sexual transmission of T. gondii from men to women. The risk may seem relatively low, but transmission can occur during unprotected sexual intercourse, which may be at the time of conception. Because of the risk of congenital toxoplasmosis, a lower risk of infection than that observed in our study can represent a serious health problem.

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