The UK NSC recommendation on Toxoplasmosis screening in pregnancy

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Last review completed August 2016
Next review due in 2019/20
Key downloads

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Universal screening for Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is not recommended because:

  • the screening test has a high false positive rate - this means that many women would be wrongly told their baby is at risk
  • current treatment with antibiotics does not seem to prevent the infection being passed to the baby - it is uncertain whether treatment reduces the severity of the infection
  • the number of people who might get the infection in the UK has not been estimated

More about Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection which is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which affects all warm blooded animals including humans. Infection is caught by eating anything infected or contaminated with the parasite such as raw or under cooked meat, food contaminated with infected cat faeces or the soil where cats mess, and unpasteurised goat's milk.

Infection during pregnancy can cause damage to the unborn baby.

» Read more about toxoplasmosis on NHS Choices


Faculty of Public Health
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Midwives
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Toxoplasmosis policy review summary (PDF document, 154KB, 15/12/11)

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