Toxoplasma – Serology
Serologic testing for Toxoplasmosis may be indicated as part of the investigation and work-up of: 1) Patients suspected of having acute/recent infection with Toxoplasma; 2) Mothers and their newborns when congenital infection is suspected (e.g. ‘TORCH’ screen); 3) Patients with intracranial lesions suspected of being due to Toxoplasma; and 4) Patients to determine evidence of past infection.
Timing of Specimen Collection
IgM antibodies to Toxoplasma are the first to appear and are usually detectable approximately 1 week after the infection. IgM levels peak after 1–3 months and then slowly decline over the next 9 months until undetectable. However, up to 9–27% of those who have been infected with Toxoplasma have detectable IgM antibodies that may remain for 2 years or more. Toxoplasma IgG appears approximately 2 weeks after infection and peaks at 3 months. IgG antibodies then persist for life.
Grossly haemolyzed or lipaemic samples as well as samples containing particulate matter or exhibiting obvious microbial contamination are not recommended for testing.
Preparation Prior to Transport
Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.
Centrifuge if using SST. Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal.
Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHOL on ice packs.
Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)
Toxoplasma serology (IgG, IgM) testing is performed daily Monday to Friday.
Turnaround time is up to 5 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.
Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.
Toxoplasma IgG and IgM are tested on the DiaSorin Liaison XL™ analyzer. The Toxoplasma IgG and IgM assays are chemiluminescent immunoassays (CLIA) for the determination of IgG and IgM antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii in human serum.
If avidity testing is requested, it will be performed on pregnant patients after Toxoplasma IgG and IgM have tested reactive.
The absence of both Toxoplasma IgG and IgM antibodies indicates no evidence of recent or past infection. The presence of Toxoplasma IgG antibodies with the absence of IgM antibodies indicates evidence of past infection with Toxoplasma. The detection of Toxoplasma IgM antibodies with absence of IgG antibodies suggests recent infection with Toxoplasma – follow-up testing > 2 weeks later should be performed to confirm the development of IgG antibodies and thus recent/acute infection.