Determination of specific IgA antibodies against Toxoplasma is used to determine recent infection with Toxoplasma gondii. However, it should be noted that the role and clinical application of specific IgA antibodies against Toxoplasma is not yet clear.
Toxoplasmosis is a systemic, parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. It is transmitted to humans by eating poorly cooked meat from infected animals or ingesting oocysts through the handling of cat litter containing infected feces. It can also be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta by the mother. After ingestion, the parasites travel to various body tissues and cluster together in oocysts.
Acquired toxoplasmosis usually does not cause symptoms in patients with a complete immune system. In cases of immunosuppression, it can cause hyperpyrexia, lymphadenopathy, lymphocytosis and in some cases, encephalitis, pneumonitis, myocarditis, myositis and possibly death. Congenital fetal toxoplasmosis can cause severe abnormalities, including blindness, hydrocephalus, mental retardation, and can lead to endometrial or postnatal death.
Serological testing for Toxoplasma gondii antibody titers is recommended for all pregnant women. If the antibody titer is positive, referring to an infection in the past, there is no risk to the fetus. However, the fetus is at risk if the disease develops during pregnancy. Thus, if the antibody titer is indicative of active infection or is initially negative, the test should be repeated at each microbiological examination in the first 5 months of pregnancy and shortly before delivery. When toxoplasmosis is acquired early in pregnancy, abortion may be suggested. Toxoplasmosis is common in AIDS patients.
Specific IgA antibodies can be detected in the sera of infected adults and infants. As with specific parasite IgM antibodies, IgA antibodies may persist for many months to more than one year after infection. For this reason, they do not appear to provide additional assistance in the diagnosis of acute infection in adults. On the contrary, there appears to be an increased sensitivity in the determination of IgA over IgM for the diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis in embryos and newborns. In some neonates with congenital toxoplasmosis and negative IgM antibodies, serological diagnosis has been established in the presence of specific IgA and IgG antibodies.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
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