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A work on Congenital Toxoplasmosis awarded by the Catalan Society of Pediatrics

19 June 2024

The presentation of the results of the Spanish Congenital Toxoplasmosis Cohort (REIV-TOXO) received the Best Oral Communication Award at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Catalan Pediatric Society held in Girona on June 14 and 15. It is a work promoted by Dr. Borja Guarch, from the Pediatric Service of the Josep Trueta Hospital in Girona and also a researcher linked to the IDIBGI, and Dr. Pere Soler, head of the Pediatric Infectious Pathology and Immunodeficiencies Unit of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and of the Infection and Immunity group of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

The State Cohort for Research on Congenital Toxoplasmosis (REIV-TOXO) is a project that includes an ambispective state database, which collects patients with confirmed congenital toxoplasmosis (TC) born in Spain since January 1 2015 to date. Currently, 122 hospitals from all the autonomous communities of Spain are part of the network.

Congenital Toxoplasmosis includes a set of symptoms that an unborn baby shows when it is infected by the parasite toxoplasma gondii , which can cause damage to the eyes, nervous system, skin and ears. The progressive withdrawal of systematic serological screening for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy in several autonomous communities  — including Catalonia —  has prompted the formation of the Cohort, with the aim of continuing to contribute knowledge about the real impact of CT in Spain and to have of scientific data that can help in making public health decisions for the prevention and early treatment of infection.

The work included 56 patients (54 pregnancies), with an average follow-up of 24 months. Thanks to prenatal screening, 92.8% of cases of infection could be detected, most registered in the third trimester. At birth, 62.5% of infants were asymptomatic. 84% completed CT treatment, but 14.2% had further complications, mainly ocular. Babies who did not receive prenatal treatment had a higher risk of presenting symptoms at birth and of complications during follow-up.

The work of the REIV-TOXO Cohort reflects the ability of prenatal screening to diagnose CT, initiate treatment during pregnancy, and obtain better clinical outcomes at birth and during follow-up. In this way, the Cohort wants to highlight the need to establish universal maternal screening.

The study has been financed through the private donation of the Bescos Manau family to promote research into congenital toxoplasmosis.


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