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Toxoplasma gondii 

Toxoplasma gondii
Chapter:
Toxoplasma gondii
Author(s):

Rima McLeod

, Kelsey Wheeler

, Pauline Levigne

, and Kenneth Boyer

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190604813.003.0017
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date: 15 September 2019

Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii can result in congenital toxoplasmosis. Untreated congenital toxoplasmosis presents considerable potential risks to patients and costs for society, with manifestations recurring throughout life. Infection with T. gondii, acquired at any time during pregnancy can damage the fetus, but especially during early gestation. Fetal infection with T. gondii can cause fetal loss, intrauterine growth retardation, and damage to organs (especially the brain and eyes). Treatment with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine improves manifestations of active infection in the fetus, congenital infection in infants, and recurrent disease when manifested later in life in those congenitally infected. Key components of the prevention and treatment of congenital toxoplasmosis include prompt, correct diagnosis and treatment with effective anti–T. gondii medications. Several countries have gestational screening programs to detect newly acquired T. gondii infections. In the future, development of new medications, including those for chronic infection, and vaccines for prevention will be important.

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