Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 33, Supplement 2, pp 241–247 | Cite as

Congenital toxoplasmosis—a report on the Danish neonatal screening programme 1999–2007

  • Dennis Röser
  • Henrik Vedel Nielsen
  • Eskild Petersen
  • Peter Saugmann-Jensen
  • Peter Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen
Newborn Screening



This paper reports on the national neonatal screening programme for congenital toxoplasmosis (CT) in Denmark conducted from 1999 to 2007, including background, basis for initiation of screening, methods, results, and finally reasons for the discontinuation of the screening.


A nationwide screening was conducted at Statens Serum Institut, including >98% newborns, and using filter paper eluates (Guthrie card, PKU card) obtained from newborns 5–10 days old. These were analysed for Toxoplasma gondii-specific antibodies (IgM), and if positive, then IgM (ISAGA). Confirmatory serology was performed on children and their mothers (IgM, IgG, IgA, dye test) where infection was suspected, and children with suspected or confirmed CT initiated a 3-month treatment regimen with pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine and folinic acid supplements. Selective cohorts were followed with regard to developmental and clinical outcome.


A total of 100 children were diagnosed with CT in the screening period, and only 2 cases were detected outside of the screening programme. CT prevalence was 1.6 per 10,000 live-born infants. Follow-up studies showed new retinochoroidal lesions in affected children despite treatment.


Screening was terminated August 2007, after it became apparent that no benefit of treatment could be shown. CT was evaluated using a Danish adaptation of the Uniform Screening Panel (ACMG), showing CT as an unlikely candidate for screening today. Whereas results might be comparable with other low-endemic countries with similar strains of T. gondii, neonatal screening and treatment might offer different results in regions with either high prevalence or different strains of T. gondii.


Pyrimethamine Neonatal Screening Prenatal Screening Congenital Toxoplasmosis Sulphadiazine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank M. Lebech, D. Schmidt and the Congenital Toxoplasmosis Screening Group for their work over the years. We thank Rune Stensvold for proofreading and helpful advice.


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Copyright information

© SSIEM and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Röser
    • 1
  • Henrik Vedel Nielsen
    • 1
  • Eskild Petersen
    • 2
  • Peter Saugmann-Jensen
    • 3
  • Peter Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Microbiological Surveillance and ResearchStatens Serum InstitutCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Infectious DiseasesAarhus University Hospital, SkejbyAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.National Board of HealthCopenhagenDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Clinical BiochemistryStatens Serum InstitutCopenhagen S.Denmark

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