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Epidemiol Infect. 2004 Jun;132(3):541-8.

Duration of the IgM response in women acquiring Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy: implications for clinical practice and cross-sectional incidence studies.

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Centre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK.


We followed up a cohort of 446 toxoplasma-infected pregnant women to determine the median and variability of the duration of positive toxoplasma-IgM (immunoglobulin M) results measured by an immunofluorescence test (IFT) and an immunosorbent agglutination assay (ISAGA). IgM antibodies were detected for longer using the ISAGA test [median 12.8 months, interquartile range (IQR) 6.9-24.9] than the IFT (median 10.4, IQR 7.1-14.4), but the variability between individuals in the duration of IgM positivity was greatest for the ISAGA test. IgM-positive results persisted beyond 2 years in a substantial minority of women (27.1% ISAGA, 9.1% IFT). Variation in the duration of the IgM response measured by ISAGA and IFT limit their usefulness for predicting the timing of infection in pregnant women. However, measurement of IgM and IgG antibodies in a cross-sectional serosurvey offers an efficient method for estimating the incidence of toxoplasma infection.

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