Toxoplasmosis in the Fetus and Newborn

An Update on Prevalence, Diagnosis and Treatment

Pablo A Moncada; Jose G Montoya

Disclosures

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012;10(7):815-828. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is an unicellular coccidian parasite with worldwide distribution. It is estimated that more than a third of the world's population has been infected with the parasite, but seroprevalence is unevenly distributed across countries and different socioeconomic strata. The majority of newborns with congenital toxoplasmosis do not have any clinical signs of the disease at birth; however, 30–70% of those with clinical abnormalities were not detected initially, and are found to have new retinal lesions consistent with toxoplasmicchorioretinitis later in life. Congenital toxoplasmosis can also cause fetal death, stillbirths or long-term disabling sequelae, particularly among untreated infants. The disease appears to be more frequent and severe at certain latitudes. Congenital toxoplasmosis can be prevented and treated during gestation. Less severe disease is commonly reported in countries where prenatal screening and treatment have been systematically implemented. By contrast, severe disease appears to be observed primarily in infants born to untreated mothers. For definition purposes, it is best to use the term toxoplasma or Toxoplasma gondii infection when referring to asymptomatic patients with primary or chronic infection, and toxoplasmosis when referring to patients with symptoms or signs.

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