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Congenital toxoplasmosis (CT), the result of a primary infection of pregnant women with Toxoplasma gondii which was transmitted to the fetus, may result in mild to deep injuries occurring in the newborn or later in its development or in adolescence. The visual and cognitive impairment that can result imposes substantial economic costs on the individual and society. Numerous observational studies favor the conclusion that, with preventive measures currently available, it is possible to reduce the incidence of infections in pregnant women, the incidence of fetal infection by preventing transplacental transmission, and the gravity of injury in infected newborns. Treatment of infected newborns can also reduce the severity of consequences and the frequency of their occurrence later in life. Prevention programs, however, are applied in only a few countries; in most countries implementation of a national prevention program has not been considered or has been thought to be too expensive. This article lists the methods of prevention of CT and describes existing national prevention programs in France and Austria. It analyzes the economic costs and benefits of maternal screening for CT prevention and mitigation for society and for health systems. The economic feasibility of implementing national screening in low-prevalence, high-cost countries is illustrated with the example of the United States. New diagnostic tools are discussed and the implication of lower costs is considered, for countries with well-established screening programs as well as those with inadequate prenatal care networks.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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