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Evaluation of five commercial assays for screening antenatal sera for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii.
  1. W D Cubitt,
  2. A E Ades,
  3. C S Peckham
  1. Department of Microbiology, Hospital for Sick Children, London.


    AIMS: To evaluate the suitability of five commercial assays (Toxoreagent, DA, Captia Toxo IgG, Toxenz-G, Toxonostika-G) for screening large numbers of sera for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii. METHODS: Sera from 1000 pregnant women booking for antenatal care at a London hospital were screened in parallel by each test. Sera giving discordant results were retested. RESULTS: The Captia Toxo IgG enzyme immune assay gave the best specificity on initial screening, with 0/773 false positives and only 2/218 false negatives. The Toxoreagent latex agglutination test performed well provided sera were tested at several dilutions to prevent prozone effects; 0/218 false negatives (greater than 12 IU/ml). Only one evidently false positive result was seen in the 1000 samples tested. The DA test gave no false negative results but produced 23/773 false positives. After repeat testing there were 9/1000 sera which gave equivocal results which were negative by the Captia Toxo IgG test (less than 12 IU/ml) but with low titres of 16 in the Toxoreagent test or 4 IU/ml in the DA test. In this situation women would have been asked for a follow up sample for repeat testing. Only 300 sera were tested by Toxenz-G; initial screening produced 4/58 false negative results and 4/242 false positives. CONCLUSIONS: The Captia Toxo IgG test gave the fewest discordant results on initial screening. Results could be readily expressed in international units using a programmable plate reader, and this may be useful for epidemiological studies. The Toxoreagent test is considerably cheaper, and is a simple and reliable method for screening provided that at least two dilutions are used.

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