In France, children with confirmed congenital toxoplasmosis receive a treatment for a period of 12 to 24 months. Such prolonged treatment may generate potentially severe risks, in particular hematologic and cutaneous. Our objective is to compare the effectiveness of two therapeutic strategies on the prevention of retinochoroiditis by a randomized, non-inferiority, open-label, parallel study including 486 children, 3 to 6 months of age with a non-severe form of congenital toxoplasmosis. Following randomization, pyrimethamine-sulphonamide treatment is initiated for a period of three months, followed by a treatment with Fansidar(®) for 9 months, or therapeutic abstention. Follow-up visits during a two-year period will include an examination of the eye, a blood test, and questionnaires to evaluate the childrens quality of life and their parents anxiety. Confirming the non-inferiority of the effectiveness of a short-term treatment will improve the quality of life of parents and children.
Congenital toxoplasmosis is caused by transplacental contamination of the fetus withToxoplasma gondiifollowing maternal primary infection. The risk of mother-to-child transmission depends on the term of pregnancy at the time of maternal infection. The risk is lower than 5% in the first trimester but can reach 90% in the last days of pregnancy. Inversely, however, fetal disease is more severe when contamination occurs early in pregnancy. The French prevention program officially recommends monthly serological screening of susceptible women during pregnancy and information about hygiene and dietary rules. Prenatal diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis is based on a combination of examinations: PCR testing for the parasite in amniotic fluid, mouse inoculation, fetal ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging. Neonatal screening consists of PCR of the placenta, mouse inoculation, detection of specific IgM and IgA in the newborn, ocular fundus examinations by indirect ophthalmoscopy, and transfontanellar ultrasonography. As soon as maternal infection is suspected, preventive treatment with spiramycin begins; the treatment is changed to a combination of pyrimethamine-sulfonamide if fetal infection is proved. Some teams are using this combination as first-line treatment after 30 weeks of gestation, without performing amniocentesis. Recent European multicenter studies raise questions about the effectiveness of prenatal treatment on mother-to-child transmission and on the reduction in the number and severity of fetal sequelae. A randomized controlled trial is required to prove the efficacy of prenatal treatment in general and of specific drugs, in particular. As soon as infection is confirmed, infected children are treated with the pyrimethamine-sulfonamide combination for 12 to 24 months. Recent multicenter studies show that postnatal treatment does not prevent ocular lesions: 5% of treated children had choroiditis lesions at birth, 20% at 5 years, and 30% at 8 years of age. Furthermore no consensus exists about the duration of postnatal treatment (3 months in Denmark versus 12 months in France). A multicenter randomized controlled trial is necessary to assess the efficacy of postnatal treatment and determine its duration. A surveillance system was set up in 2007 by the National Reference Center for Toxoplasmosis to determine the perinatal burden of this infection and to assess the national policy.
We report the genotyping analysis of Toxoplasma gondii isolates in samples collected from 88 immunocompromised patients, along with clinical and epidemiological data. Most of these samples were collected in France during the current decade by the Toxoplasma Biological Resource Center. Lack of specific anti-Toxoplasma treatment, pulmonary toxoplasmosis, and involvement of multiple organs were the 3 main risk factors associated with death for this patient group. Genotyping results with 6 microsatellite markers showed that type II isolates were predominant among patients who acquired toxoplasmic infection in Europe. Non-type II isolates included 13 different genotypes and were mainly collected from patients who acquired toxoplasmosis outside Europe. Type III was the second most common genotype recovered from patients, whereas type I was rare in our population. Three nonarchetypal genotypes were repeatedly recovered from different patients who acquired the infection in sub-Saharan Africa (genotypes Africa 1 and Africa 2) and in the French West Indies (genotype Caribbean 1). The distribution of genotypes (type II vs. non-type II) was not significantly different when patients were stratified by underlying cause of immunosuppression, site of infection, or outcome. We conclude that in immunocompromised patients, host factors are much more involved than parasite factors in patients resistance or susceptibility to toxoplasmosis.
There are often discrepancies when using different methods to measure anti-Toxoplasma gondii IgG levels in patient samples. The diagnostic performance of a chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA) and an enzyme-linked fluorescent assay (ELFA) used as confirmatory tests for samples identified as positive or equivocal by an electrochemiluminescent immunoassay (ECLIA) were examined. Cut-off values were those stated by the manufacturer, and Western blot was used to confirm the results of all methods. All samples identified as positive by ECLIA (n=93) were confirmed as positive by Western blot, as were 14 of the 28 samples identified as equivocal. When these 121 samples were retested, the sensitivities of CLIA and ELFA were 64.4% and 73.8%, respectively. Both methods exhibited a specificity of 100%. This study confirms that the results obtained from the different immunoassays are not comparable, and neither CLIA nor ELFA should be used to confirm ECLIA results, which should instead be confirmed by methods such as Western blot or Sabin-Feldman dye test.
Detection and treatment of acute toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can avoid severe disease of the fetus. In this context, assessment of anti-Toxoplasma IgG avidity has been shown to exclude recent infection. The Elecsys Toxo IgG and IgM assays (Roche Diagnostics) have been validated for screening pregnant women and a new assay, Elecsys Toxo IgG Avidity, was recently developed. Our aims were to investigate the performance characteristics of this new avidity assay and explore whether additional information can be provided by avidity assays. The Elecsys assay was compared with the Vidas (bioMérieux) and Architect (Abbott) Avidity assays using two sets of serum samples (n = 291 and n = 255). The rate of general agreement between the Elecsys and Vidas assays was 74%, and that between the Elecsys and Architect assays was 83%. For 11% of the serum samples, avidity was high with the Vidas assay and within the gray zone with the Elecsys assay. None of the assays detected high-avidity antibodies in serum taken <4 months after infection. Avidity values of >90% were exclusively reported in sera taken >9 months after infection by the Elecsys and Architect assays. Almost all avidities of <19% with the Elecsys assay and <17% with the Architect assay corresponded to sera taken <3 and <2 months after infection, respectively. The Elecsys IgG Avidity assay can be used to exclude recent infection. New ways of interpreting the avidity result are also suggested: very high or low values could exclude infections within the last 9 months or help to confirm a recent infection, respectively. However, these potential interpretations require further investigation.
This retrospective study proposes a new reading of immunoblotting (IB) in the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis. Our findings demonstrate that a three-IgM-band association at 75, 90, and 100 kDa called the IgM triplet increases the sensitivity to 95.8% when combined with prenatal and serological neonatal tests.
Six agglutination tests for detecting Toxoplasma gondii-specific antibodies (immunoglobulin G or M) in serum were performed and compared. In total, 599 sera were examined using direct and indirect agglutination assays. Sensitivity varied from 93.7% to 100% and specificity from 97.1% to 99.2%. In a selected population with interfering diseases, the percentage of false positives ranged from 4.3% to 10.9%. Although an overall agreement of 100% was found for chronic toxoplasmosis, sensitivity for the detection of confirmed acute toxoplasmosis ranged from 86.4% to 97.3%. Regarding the large variability in terms of the performance of the 6 assays, tests based on the hemagglutination principle were found to be better than the other agglutination tests for all the panels evaluated, meaning that they could be used as qualitative or semiquantitative low-cost screening assays.
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