Background: Although the incidence of toxoplasmosis is low in the United States, up to 6000 congenital cases
occur annually. In September 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a conference about
toxoplasmosis; participants recommended a survey of the toxoplasmosis-related knowledge and practices of
obstetrician-gynecologists and the development of professional educational materials for them.
Methods: In the fall of 1999, surveys were mailed to a 2% random sample of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) members and to a demographically representative group of ACOGmembers known as the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (CARN). Responses were not significantly different for the random
and CARN groups for most questions (p value shown when different).
Results: Among 768 US practicing ACOG members surveyed, 364 (47%) responded. Seven per cent (CARN
10%, random 5%) had diagnosed one or more case(s) of acute toxoplasmosis in the past year. Respondents were
well-informed about how to prevent toxoplasmosis. However, only 12% (CARN 11%, random 12%) indicated
that a positive Toxoplasma IgM test might be a false–positive result, and only 11% (CARN 14%, random 9%)
were aware that the Food and Drug Administration sent an advisory to all ACOG members in 1997 stating
that some Toxoplasma IgM test kits have high false–positive rates. Most of those surveyed (CARN 70%, random
59%; X2 p < 0.05) were opposed to universal screening of pregnant women.
Conclusions: Many US obstetrician-gynecologists will encounter acute toxoplasmosis during their careers, but
they are frequently uncertain about interpretation of the laboratory tests for the disease. Most would not recommend
universal screening of pregnant women.