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November 1958

Toxoplasmosis and Congenital Deafness

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Otolaryngology, The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Supported by United States Public Health Service Grant B-1272(C).

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;68(5):547-561. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730020569003

Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan, since its discovery by Nicolle and Manceaux, in Africa, and by Splendore in Brazil, both in 1908, has gained rapidly in reputation as the causative agent of a specific disease. Toxoplasmosis is now recognized in its ubiquitous, "pantropic" occurrence. A rapidly snowballing amount of related publications testifies to a universal interest.

This concern is understandable in the case of a disease which spreads all over the globe. In a normal urban population its incidence has been found to be 30% to 60%, on the basis of reaction to Toxoplasma antigen. Even more alarming data were given for certain groups of patients with other diseases. In mental patients rates based on positive toxoplasmin skin tests, sufficiently high dye test, and complement-fixation titer were as high as 50%, rising to 75% in Mongoloid idiocy. These incidence figures climbed even higher with age.

Many cases of advanced toxoplasmosis in