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J Clin Microbiol. 2001 Jun;39(6):2267-71.

Strategy for diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis: evaluation of methods comparing mothers and newborns and standard methods for postnatal detection of immunoglobulin G, M, and A antibodies.

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Service de Parasitologie-Mycologie, CHU Hôpital Maison Blanche, UPRES EA 2070, IFR53, 51092, Reims, France.


In a study involving 14 laboratories supported by the European Community Biomed 2 program, we evaluated immunologic methods for the postnatal diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis (CT). Among babies born to mothers who seroconverted to positivity for toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, we analyzed 55 babies with CT on the basis of persistent anti-Toxoplasma immunoglobulin G (IgG) at 1 year of life and 50 control babies without anti-Toxoplasma IgG at 1 year of life in the absence of curative treatment with pyrimethamine-sulfonamides. We tested in-house methods such as the enzyme-linked immunofiltration assay (ELIFA) or Immunoblotting (IB) for the detection of IgG or IgM; these methods allowed comparison of the immunologic profiles of the mothers and the infants. We compared ELIFA and IB with a commercial enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or in-house immunosorbent agglutination assay (ISAGA) for the detection of IgM or IgA. The performances of combinations of methods were also assessed. A cumulative sensitivity of 98% during a 1-year follow-up was obtained with the ELIFA plus ISAGA combination. Only one case of CT was missed by the ELIFA plus ISAGA combination, whereas three cases were missed by the IB plus ISAGA combination, even though 48% of patients with CT were treated with pyrimethamine-sulfonamides, which are known to inhibit antibody neosynthesis. A similar performance was obtained with either ELIFA or IB in combination with EIA. The difference in performance between ELIFA plus ISAGA and IB plus ISAGA was not statistically significant (P = 0.31), and we conclude that both combinations of tests can be used for the diagnosis of CT in newborns.

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