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Treatment Benefits Children with Congenital Toxoplasmosis

Children have better cognitive, neurologic and auditory function after drug treatment

MONDAY, May 15 (HealthDay News) -- Using pyrimethamine plus sulfadiazine to treat children with congenital toxoplasmosis can result in normal cognitive, neurologic and auditory function and no new eye lesions, according to a study in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Rima McLeod, M.D., from the University of Chicago in Illinois, and colleagues followed 120 infants (current mean age 10.5 years) who had been diagnosed with congenital toxoplasmosis and referred for treatment and evaluation between 1981 and 2004. Eighty percent of the infants had moderate or severe neurologic disease at birth. The infants were treated with one of two doses of pyrimethamine plus sulfadiazine shortly after birth for one year.

All patients without neurologic disease had normal cognitive, neurologic and auditory function after treatment. In patients with moderate or severe neurologic disease, neurologic and/or cognitive function was normal in more than 72 percent of cases after treatment, with no sensorineural hearing loss. There were no new eye lesions in 91 percent of children without neurologic disease and in 64 percent children with moderate or severe neurologic disease.

"Because available evidence suggests that a majority of children with congenital toxoplasmosis will develop disease, and because treatment appears to improve outcome, it may be time to consider a more comprehensive plan for neonatal screening for congenital toxoplasmosis," states an accompanying editorial.

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