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January 1977

The Complement-Fixation Test in the Diagnosis of Congenital Toxoplasmosis

Author Affiliations

From the Tropical Medicine Unit, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Am J Dis Child. 1977;131(1):21-28. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1977.02120140023002

• We present serologic results on 26 patients with congenital toxoplasmosis and on 22 of their mothers. The infection was severe (central nervous system involvement) in 12 patients, 12 had only ocular manifestations, and two were asymptomatic. The dye test results were positive on all specimens, and were positive at a titer of 1:1,024 or higher if collected from patients younger than 2 years of age. The complement-fixation test (CFT) results were positive on all specimens from patients younger than 2 years of age and on 69% of specimens collected from older patients. These serologic results are contrasted with those obtained on two control groups: (1) 46 uninfected infants followed up after birth because of substantial antibody titers in their mothers during pregnancy; and (2) 190 infants and children tested because toxoplasmosis was tentatively included in the differential diagnosis of the current illness. In both control groups the positive results on the CFT were limited almost exclusively to cord blood specimens or specimens collected during the first 2 weeks of life. Lower CFT titers in followup specimens suggested that the antibodies were maternal in origin.

These two tests are valuable in providing laboratory support for the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis, particularly the test for the comparatively short-lived complement-fixing antibody.

(Am J Dis Child 131:21-28, 1977)

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