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J Med Microbiol. 2007 Nov;56(Pt 11):1495-9.

Detection of acute Toxoplasma gondii infection in early pregnancy by IgG avidity and PCR analysis.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, PO Box 24923, Safat 13110, Kuwait.


Acute Toxoplasma gondii infection in early pregnancy carries the risk of transmitting the infection to the fetus with serious sequelae. However, serological testing for IgG/IgM anti-Toxoplasma antibodies may fail to differentiate between a recent and past infection. Two hundred and twenty-four Kuwaiti women in their first trimester were screened for IgG/IgM antibodies by the Vitek Immuno Diagnostic Assay System (VIDAS) and VIDAS IgG-avidity tests. On serological screening, 119 (53.1 %) women were positive for IgG antibodies and 31 (13.8 %) for IgM antibodies. Nine of the IgM-positive and 7 IgM-negative women had low-avidity antibodies. However, the IgG-avidity test detected low-avidity antibodies only in 9 (29 %) of the 31 IgM-positive women, suggesting a recent infection; 19 (61.3 %) women had high-avidity antibodies, indicating that the infection was acquired in the distant past. Based on IgM serology alone, at least 31 IgM-positive women may have been wrongly labelled as having acute Toxoplasma infection thus warranting appropriate therapeutic intervention. All the 19 IgM-positive women with high-avidity antibodies were confirmed negative for Toxoplasma DNA on PCR analysis. Compared with PCR analysis, the VIDAS avidity test was a helpful tool for the diagnosis of recent Toxoplasma infection in IgM-negative women with low-avidity antibodies and IgM-positive women with high-avidity antibodies; the specificity was >85 -100 %. It is concluded that the VIDAS avidity test when used in combination with VIDAS IgG/IgM tests is a valuable assay for the exclusion of ongoing or recently acquired T. gondii infection in pregnant women in their first trimester and that it decreases significantly the necessity for follow-up testing and unnecessary therapeutic intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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