What is TORCH Profile IgM?
The TORCH Profile Test refers to a group of tests performed on pregnant women to determine the presence of certain infections or to screen newborns for infections caused by Toxoplasma, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex virus, and a group of other pathogens (TORCH) that may cause maternal illness or birth defects in the newborn.
Why is TORCH Profile IgM done?
The TORCH Profile Test is performed:
- To detect and help in the diagnosis of an infection caused by the TORCH group of pathogens in a pregnant woman (usually in the first trimester), or in a woman planning pregnancy
- To screen for infections in a woman in case of recurrent miscarriage
- To screen for infections in a newborn
What do TORCH Profile IgM Parameters Measure?
The TORCH Profile test detects the presence of antibodies against Toxoplasma, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2.
TORCH is an acronym that stands for a group of infectious diseases that may occur in a pregnant woman or a newborn, leading to illness and birth defects:
- Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma. This infection can pass from the pregnant mother to the unborn child through the placenta. This infection most commonly occurs from eating uncooked contaminated meat, raw eggs, handling feces of cats, or drinking raw goat milk. This infection can cause miscarriage, vision loss, seizures, hearing loss, or other birth defects in the newborn.
- Rubella: Rubella, also called German measles is caused by the Rubella virus. If the virus infects the child in the womb, it may cause birth abnormalities like cardiovascular disorders, heart defects, mental retardation, vision disorders, hearing disorders, etc.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV): Belonging to the herpes virus family, CMV causes negligibly mild symptoms in adults, but may pass on to a child either through the placenta during gestation, or through breast milk. It may cause hearing disorders, mental retardation, epileptic seizures, etc. in newborns.
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV 1 and 2): In adults, HSV 1 causes cold sores, and HSV 2 causes the common sexually transmitted disease genital herpes. A newborn may be infected by HSV while traveling through the birth canal during delivery. Both HSV 1 and HSV 2 infections in newborns are usually very severe and affect vital organs, causing breathing disorders, epileptic seizures, and central nervous system damage which may be permanent even after antiviral treatment.
- Other: Other infections include Syphilis, Hepatitis B, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Enterovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, Varicella-zoster virus, and Parvovirus B19. Each of these infections can be transmitted to the child from the mother and cause severe conditions in the newborn.
Infection by the above pathogens induces the immune system of the body to produce antibodies called immunoglobulins, mainly IgG and IgM. IgM is produced and detected in blood immediately after infection and confers short-term protection. IgG is produced in blood sometime after the infection occurs and persists longer. It is responsible for long-term protection from subsequent infections of the same pathogen. This TORCH Profile Test detects the presence of immunoglobulins IgG and IgM for the following to screen for the presence of infection:
- Toxoplasma IgM
- Rubella Virus IgM
- Cytomegalovirus IgM
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1 IgM
- Herpes Simplex Virus 2 IgM