Congenital toxoplasmosis

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Congenital toxoplasmosis
Congenital toxoplasmosis
SymptomsNo symptoms, small or large head, visual loss, mental disability, seizures[1]
ComplicationsMiscarriage, stillbirth[2]
Usual onsetVery young babies[1]
CausesToxoplasma gondii[1]
Diagnostic methodBlood tests, medical imaging[1]

Congenital toxoplasmosis is toxoplasmosis infection in a newborn baby.[1] The infection may result in miscarriage or stillbirth.[2] Affected newborns initially may have no symptoms.[1] A small or large head is typical.[2] Eye problems such as eye inflammation or strabismus may develop.[1] The liver and spleen may feel large.[1] Other signs and symptoms include small purplish spots, lung inflammation, diarrhoea, yellow eyes, hypothermia, and a rash.[1] Visual loss, mental disability, and seizures may develop.[2] The condition can lead to death of the baby.[1]

The condition is caused by Toxoplasma gondii, as a result of the mother having the infection during or just before pregnancy.[2][3] Diagnosis is with blood tests on the mother and baby.[1] Pregnant women can be tested for IgM and Immunoglobulin G, although this is not always accurate.[1] Ultrasound in pregnancy may reveal signs in the unborn baby, such as hydrocephalus, brain calcifications, pericarditis, large liver and spleen, or large abdomen.[1] The virus may be isolated from a body fluid.[1]

Prevention is by antenatal screening and avoidance of certain foods such as undercooked meats.[1] Where infection occurs in the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, spiramycin can be offered, as long as the baby is not suspected of being affected.[1] Pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid can be offered if infection occurs after 18 weeks gestation, or if amniotic fluid is positive by PCR, or if ultrasound findings highly predict congenital toxoplasmosis.[1] Pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid, are also used to treat affected babies.[1] The baby may also require prednisolone.[1]

Globally, around 190,000 babies are born with congenital toxoplasmosis each year.[1] Congenital toxoplasmosis was first described in 1923 by Josef Janku in Prague.[4][5]

Signs and symptoms

See also


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 Montoya, Jose G. (2020). "328. Toxoplasmosis". In Goldman, Lee; Schafer, Andrew I. (eds.). Goldman-Cecil Medicine. Vol. 2 (26th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier. p. 2056-2058. ISBN 978-0-323-55087-1. Archived from the original on 2023-09-10. Retrieved 2023-09-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Toxoplasmosis - Disease". CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 28 February 2019. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  3. Márquez-Mauricio, Alfredo; Caballero-Ortega, Heriberto; Gómez-Chávez, Fernando (27 June 2023). "Congenital Toxoplasmosis Diagnosis: Current Approaches and New Insights". Acta Parasitologica. doi:10.1007/s11686-023-00693-y. ISSN 1896-1851. PMID 37368128. Archived from the original on 26 August 2023. Retrieved 24 August 2023.
  4. Weiss, Louis M.; Dubey, Jitender. P. (1 July 2009). "Toxoplasmosis: a history of clinical observations". International journal for parasitology. 39 (8): 895–901. doi:10.1016/j.ijpara.2009.02.004. ISSN 0020-7519. PMID 19217908. Archived from the original on 25 February 2023. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  5. Janků, J., 1923. Pathogenesa a pathologická anatomie tak nazvaneho vrozeného kolombu žluté skvrany voku normálné velikem a microphthalmickém s nalezem parasitu v sítnici. Časopis lékařeů českŷck [Pathogenesis and pathologic anatomy of the “congenital coloboma” of the macula lutea in an eye of normal size, with microscopic detection of parasites in the rentna] 62, 1021–1027, 1052–1059, 1081–1085, 1111-111, 1138–1143 (For English translation, see Janků, J., 1959. Cesk. Parasitol. 6, 9–58).