Toxoplasma gondii, rubella, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus have in common that they can cause congenital (TORCH) infection, leading to fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. During the last decades, TORCH screening, which is generally considered to be single serum testing, has been increasingly used inappropriately and questions have been raised concerning the indications and cost-effectiveness of TORCH testing. The problems of TORCH screening lie in requesting the screening for the wrong indications, wrong interpretation of the single serum results and in case there is a good indication for diagnosis of congenital infection, sending in the wrong materials. This review provides an overview of the pathogenesis, epidemiology and clinical consequences of congenital TORCH infections and discusses the indications for, and interpretation of, TORCH screens.
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