Prematurity and severity are associated with toxoplasma gondii alleles (NCCCTS, 1981-2009)

Rima McLeod*, Kenneth M. Boyer, Daniel Lee, Ernest Mui, Kristen Wroblewski, Theodore Karrison, A. Gwendolyn Noble, Shawn Withers, Charles N. Swisher, Peter T. Heydemann, Mari Sautter, Jane Babiarz, Peter Rabiah, Paul Meier, Michael E. Grigg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background.Congenital toxoplasmosis is a severe, life-altering disease in the United States. A recently developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) distinguishes Toxoplasma gondii parasite types (II and not exclusively II [NE-II]) by detecting antibodies in human sera that recognize allelic peptide motifs of distinct parasite types.Methods.ELISA determined parasite serotype for 193 congenitally infected infants and their mothers in the National Collaborative Chicago-based Congenital Toxoplasmosis Study (NCCCTS), 1981-2009. Associations of parasite serotype with demographics, manifestations at birth, and effects of treatment were determined.Results.Serotypes II and NE-II occurred in the United States with similar proportions during 3 decades. For persons diagnosed before or at birth and treated in infancy, and persons diagnosed after 1 year of age who missed treatment in infancy, proportions were similar (P =. 91). NE-II serotype was more common in hot, humid regions (P =. 02) but was also present in other regions. NE-II serotype was associated with rural residence (P <. 01), lower socioeconomic status (P <. 001), and Hispanic ethnicity (P <. 001). Prematurity (P =. 03) and severe disease at birth (P <. 01) were associated with NE-II serotype. Treatment with lower and higher doses of pyrimethamine with sulfadizine improved outcomes relative to those outcomes of persons in the literature who did not receive such treatment.Conclusions.Type II and NE-II parasites cause congenital toxoplasmosis in North America. NE-II serotype was more prevalent in certain demographics and associated with prematurity and severe disease at birth. Both type II and NE-II infections improved with treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1605
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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