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Congenital toxoplasmosis

(kuhn-JEN-uh-tuhl • tahk-SOH-plaz-MOH-suhs)

General Condition Information

Other Names

There are no other recognized names for this condition.

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Condition Type

Birth Prevalence

Hundreds of babies are born with this condition each year in the United States.

Screening Finding

Presence of Toxoplasma antibody

What is congenital toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The Toxoplasma parasite can live in cat feces (poop), water, soil, or certain foods. Exposure to Toxoplasma is common, and in most children and adults, a Toxoplasma infection is harmless.

Congenital toxoplasmosis happens when a pregnant mother infected with Toxoplasma passes the parasite to the baby during pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms can be mild or severe and may appear right away or can develop later.

  • Most babies infected with Toxoplasma before birth will not have any health problems right away, but often develop signs and symptoms later in life.
  • Some babies who are infected with Toxoplasma will be born with health problems. Babies may be born too early or have damage to the brain, eyes, and other organs.
  • Typically, babies infected with Toxoplasma earlier in pregnancy (in the first trimester) have more severe health problems than those infected later in pregnancy.

Newborn Screening and Follow-Up

Condition Details

Treatment and Management

Babies with a Congenital toxoplasmosis infection will need treatment to prevent some of the health problems caused by this condition. Talk to your health care provider about when to start treatment and which treatment(s) are best for your baby.

Treatment options can include the following:

  • Medications (pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and leucovorin)
  • Regular hearing tests to check for hearing loss
  • Regular vision tests to check for vision loss
  • Steroids
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