Toxoplasma gondii, others, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex (all together denoted as TORCH) are the major causes of bad obstetric history (BOH) and may cause birth defects. Therefore, antenatal screening for antibodies to TORCH infectious agents is an important tool for diagnosis. Thus, the study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of TORCH among mothers with a loss of pregnancy (abortion) or stillbirth.

A laboratory-based cross-sectional study on the frequency and associated risk factors for the prevalence of TORCH was conducted from 28 February to 31 March 2018. The study included 44 women aged 18-45 years who were admitted at Orotta Maternity National Referral and Teaching Hospital, Asmara, Eritrea, due to loss of pregnancy (abortion) or stillbirth. The study participants were selected by systematic random sampling. From each woman, 3 mL of venous blood was collected in a container with aseptic technique. Immunoglobulin G antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex were detected by IgG Combo Rapid Test Cassette (Serum).

Of the 44 mothers with mean age of 29.3 years (SD=5.6), who were tested by IgG Combo Rapid Test Cassette (Serum), a prevalence of 0% was found for seropositivity for anti-toxoplasma gondii IgG , HIV, and anti-herpes simplex IgG, whereas a prevalence of 2.27% was found for anti-rubella virus IgG and 2.27% for anti-cytomegalovirus IgG. The study findings showed no association between age and the current miscarriage/abortion, whereas a weak association (p=0.96) between previous and current miscarriage/abortion was observed.

The present study prevalences are very low compared to those of other studies. The study results predict a chance of having an abortion/miscarriage in the case of a previous abortion. We recommend that a countrywide survey be conducted on pregnant women who attend antenatal clinic during pregnancy.

ANC: antenatal clinic, BOH: bad obstetric history, CMV: cytomegalovirus virus, G: gestation, HIV: human immunodeficiency virus, HSV: herpes simplex virus, IgG: Immunoglobulin G, OMNRTH: Orotta Maternity National Referral Teaching Hospital, TORCH: Toxoplasma gondii, other diseases (HIV, syphilis, and measles), rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus, VZV: varicella zoster virus
We thank the members of the Serology Department at the National Health Laboratory of the State of Eritrea.
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
All test kits for the mothers and procedures related to the research were funded by the research team.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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