US researchers have identified a specific type of strains from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which could be responsible for preterm births and chronic birth defects. Would be mothers could be infected with T. gondii virus through coming into contact with contaminated cat faeces or by consuming undercooked meat.
Pregnant women those contaminated with T. gondii may miscarry, give premature birth or having babies with eye or brain damage. It is estimated that over half of the world’s population carry a T. gondii infection. During firs few weeks after the infection it typically causes mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms.
Subsequently, the parasite hardly ever causes any symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, people with a weakened immune system, such as AIDS patients or pregnant women, could become seriously ill and it can occasionally be lethal. For their study researchers used a new blood test developed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIID), to identify T. gondii strains.
These strains are acquired by children their acutely contaminated mothers while they in the womb. Anthony S. Fauci, director of NIAID, stated if unnoticed or untreated, congenital toxoplasmosis can have severe consequences for quality of life of a child. This study findings support the worth of screening for toxoplasmosis to make out patients who could benefit from treatment.
Michael Grigg and colleagues, from NIAID’s Lab of Parasitic Diseases who developed the experimental test trying to improve upon the older tests because it can discover the being there of strain-specific antibodies which differentiate infecting strains from one another. This test was applied to blood samples collected between 1981 and 2009 as part of the National Collaborative Chicago-Based Congenital Toxoplasmosis Study.