Prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis in Szeged, Hungary

Zsuzsanna Szénási, Zsófia Ozsvár, Erzsébet Nagy, Mária Jeszenszky, János Szabó, János Gellén, Mihály Végh, Chris Verhofstede

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Toxoplasma gondii infection of the fetus can only be discovered or prevented by the appropriate serological screening and subsequent treatment of the mother and her offspring. In Hungary, there is no obligatory toxoplasma screening for pregnant women and both the reporting and follow-up of congenital toxoplasmosis cases is limited. In 1987 we started a systematic study in the Szeged region of Hungary, in which all pregnant women were screened and appropriate treatment given to all mothers and their offspring where congenital toxoplasmosis was suspected. Methods. All pregnant women were routinely screened within the first 16 weeks of gestation for toxoplasma antibodies by complement fixation test (CFT). Seronegative cases were retested for possible seroconversion every second month. Patients with CFT titres ≤ 1:256 were retested for anti-P30 immunoglobulin A (IgA), IgM and IgG antibodies by ELISA and/or SDS-PAGE-Western immunoblot in order to distinguish the acute and chronic phases of the infection. Results. Up to the end of 1994, the sera of 17,735 gravidae were screened. Ten women were found to have seroconverted during pregnancy and 78 had high initial antibody levels accompanied by anti-P30 IgA antibodies at the very first screening. These two groups together were considered as definitely (10) or possibly (78) infected with Toxoplasma during pregnancy and were treated with Spiramycin. All of their offspring were also treated for one month and followed-up by systematic serological and clinical screening for 2 years. No congenital toxoplasmosis was found in any of the offspring. Conclusions. Antenatal, early diagnosis and treatment of toxoplasmosis in mothers, together with treatment and follow-up of their offspring, may considerably reduce the incidence of the disease in the offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-435
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997


  • Congenital toxoplasmosis
  • Hungary
  • Prevention
  • Serological screening
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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    Szénási, Z., Ozsvár, Z., Nagy, E., Jeszenszky, M., Szabó, J., Gellén, J., Végh, M., & Verhofstede, C. (1997). Prevention of congenital toxoplasmosis in Szeged, Hungary. International journal of epidemiology, 26(2), 428-435.