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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2009 Mar;104(2):370-3.

Congenital toxoplasmosis and DALYs in the Netherlands.

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Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Perinatal Screening, Centre for Infectious Disease Control Netherlands, National Institute for Public Health and Environment, BA Bilthoven, the Netherlands.


The calculation of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) enables public health policy makers to compare the burden of disease of a specific disease with that of other (infectious) diseases. The incidence of a disease is important for the calculation of DALYs. To estimate the incidence of congenital toxoplasmosis (CT), a random sample of 10,008 dried blood spot filter paper cards from babies born in 2006 in the Netherlands were tested for Toxoplasma gondii-specific IgM antibodies. Eighteen samples were confirmed as positive for IgM, resulting in an observed birth incidence of CT of 1.8 cases per 1,000 live-born children in 2006 and an adjusted incidence of 2.0 cases per 1,000. This means that 388 infected children were born in 2006. The most likely burden of disease is estimated to be 2,300 DALYs (range 820-6,710 DALYs). In the previous calculations, using data from a regional study from 1987, this estimate was 620 DALYs (range 220-1,900 DALYs). The incidence of CT in the Netherlands is much higher than previously reported; it is 10 times higher than in Denmark and 20 times higher than in Ireland, based on estimates obtained using the same methods. There is no screening program in the Netherlands; most children will be born asymptomatic and therefore will not be detected or treated.

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