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J Infect. 1998 Mar;36(2):189-96.

Epidemiological study of latent and recent infection by Toxoplasma gondii in pregnant women from a regional population in the U.K.

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Division of Transfusion Medicine, East Anglian Blood Centre, University of Cambridge, UK.



To determine the prevalence of IgG and IgM to Toxoplasma gondii (TG) and predict the incidence of infection during pregnancy and in foetuses.


Thirteen thousand pregnant women from eastern England were tested at the time of booking for antenatal screening. Screening was carried out for the presence of IgG and IgM anti-TG, followed by confirmation with commercially available assays.


Latent infection to TG was found in 7.7% of women and increased with age from 6.8 to 17.8%. Recent infection accounted for an additional 0.4% equally distributed across age groups. No difference was found between urban and rural place of residence. A 1-2% incidence of TG infection every 5 years of age was found. IgM-only cases were mostly false positives and were unsuitable for statistical analysis. On the basis of both IgM and IgG imputed data, TG infection was found significantly higher during the first trimester of pregnancy. Three to sixteen TG-infected foetuses per 10000 pregnancies were predicted.


The east of England has a low prevalence of TG infection and therefore a high, at-risk population of pregnant women. Repeated screening during pregnancy would be expensive, but would detect and possibly prevent infection in approximately 10 neonates per 10000 women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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