Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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When immunocompetent people become infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, the disease is generally asymptomatic. However, transplacental transmission of T. gondii may lead to severe congenital infection including in utero abortion, foetal death, or neurological or ocular damage of the foetus. France has had a national programme to prevent congenital toxoplasmosis since 1978. However, although estimated seroprevalence in pregnant women has fallen from 84% in the 1960s to 44% in 2003, no reliable data have been available on the annual number of cases of congenital toxoplasmosis or the severity of infection. In 2006, the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance (Institut de Veille Sanitaire) and the National Reference Centre for Toxoplasmosis recommended that a national laboratory-based surveillance system be used for the surveillance of the disease. In 2007, 31 laboratories reported at least one congenital case through the surveillance system, giving a total of 272 cases. A total of 11 terminations of pregnancy were reported (six abortions and five foetal deaths). Of the live-born cases, 206 were asymptomatic, 28 were symptomatic and seven had a severe form of the disease. As there were 818,700 births in France and French overseas departments in 2007, the overall prevalence of congenital toxoplasmosis observed that year was 3.3 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.9 to 3.7) per 10,000 live births and the incidence rate of the disease at birth was 2.9 (95% CI: 2.5 to 3.2) per 10,000 live births; the estimated incidence rate of symptomatic congenital toxoplasmosis was 0.34 (95% CI: 0.2 to 0.5) cases per 10,000 live births.


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