BACKGROUND: We aimed to determine the incidence of primary gestational infections with Toxoplasma gondii and congenital toxoplasmosis in Austria, a country with a nationwide prenatal serological screening program since 1974.

METHODS: We analyzed retrospective data from the Austrian Toxoplasmosis Register of pregnant women with Toxoplasma infection and their offspring with births between 1992 and 2008, identified by the prenatal mandatory screening program. Treatment was administered to women from diagnosis of a Toxoplasma infection until delivery. Infected infants were treated up to 1 year of life routinely. Clinical manifestations in infected infants were monitored at least for 1 year and documented in the register.

RESULTS: The Austrian Toxoplasmosis Register included 2147 pregnant women with suspected Toxoplasma infection. Annually, 8.5 per 10 000 women acquired Toxoplasma infection during pregnancy, and 1.0 per 10 000 infants had congenital toxoplasmosis (13% mean transmission rate). Our data showed that women treated according to the Austrian scheme had a 6-fold decrease in the maternofetal transmission rate compared to women without treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Results from the Austrian Toxoplasmosis Register show the efficiency of the prenatal screening program. Our results are of clinical relevance for infants, healthcare systems, and policy makers to consider preventive Toxoplasma screening as a potential tool to reduce the incidence of congenital toxoplasmosis.

Published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Read the full article there.

Authors / corresponding author* 
Prusa A.R., 1*; Kasper D.C.,2; Pollak A.,1; Gleiss A.,3; Waldhoer T.,4; Hayde M, 1.

1 Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
2 Research Core Unit for Pediatric Biochemistry and Analytics
3 Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics and Intelligent Systems
4 Department of Epidemiology, Center of Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.