No. 285-Toxoplasmosis in Pregnancy: Prevention, Screening, and Treatment

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2018 Aug;40(8):e687-e693. doi: 10.1016/j.jogc.2018.05.036.


Background: One of the major consequences of pregnant women becoming infected by Toxoplasma gondii is vertical transmission to the fetus. Although rare, congenital toxoplasmosis can cause severe neurological or ocular disease (leading to blindness), as well as cardiac and cerebral anomalies. Prenatal care must include education about prevention of toxoplasmosis. The low prevalence of the disease in the Canadian population and limitations in diagnosis and therapy limit the effectiveness of screening strategies. Therefore, routine screening is not currently recommended.

Objective: To review the prevention, diagnosis, and management of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy.

Outcomes: Outcomes evaluated include the effect of screening on diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis and the efficacy of prophylaxis and treatment.

Evidence: The Cochrane Library and Medline were searched for articles published in English from 1990 to the present related to toxoplasmosis and pregnancy. Additional articles were identified through references of these articles.

Values: The quality of evidence is rated and recommendations made according to guidelines developed by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Table 1).

Benefits, harms, and costs: Guideline implementation should assist the practitioner in developing an approach to screening for and treatment of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy. Patients will benefit from appropriate management of this condition.

Sponsor: The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Keywords: Toxoplasmosis; congenital; counselling; disease transmission; mass screening; pregnancy; prenatal.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Female
  • Gynecology
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / prevention & control*
  • Prenatal Care / standards*
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / standards
  • Societies, Medical
  • Toxoplasma
  • Toxoplasmosis / prevention & control*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Congenital / prevention & control