Abstract

Aim: There is evidence to suggest that the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii affects the mental health of people who are infected with it. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between T. gondii and mental health. 

Methods: A total of 200 students (87 men and 113 women) of Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences (Ahvaz, Iran) were tested for the presence of anti-Toxoplasma antibodies and completed the General Health Questionnaire (see Appendix 1) and a demographic form. Data were analyzed using independent samples t-test, chi-square test and Fisher’s exact test. 

Results: Infected women had significantly lower scores in somatic symptoms (p = 0.04), anxiety/insomnia (p = 0.006) and depression (p = 0.04) compared with non-infected women. Difference in social dysfunction was not significant (p > 0.05). There were no significant differences in somatic symptoms, anxiety/insomnia, depression and social dysfunction between infected and non-infected men (all p > 0.05). 

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that latent toxoplasmosis can affect some components of mental health just in women.