The board-certified, fellowship-trained pediatric infectious disease specialists with Norton Children’s Infectious Diseases, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the training and experience to evaluate and treat TORCH infections in children. A baby contracts a TORCH infection in the womb when the parent passes an infectious disease to the baby via their bloodstream.
What Is TORCH Infection?
TORCH is an acronym for a group of diseases that cause congenital infections when a fetus is exposed to disease in the womb. Developing fetuses are especially vulnerable to TORCH infections because their immune systems are not developed enough to fight off the infection permanently. The infection remains and can prevent a child’s organs from developing as they should. TORCH stands for:
- Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
The diseases that make up the term “other” include:
- Varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox)
- Fifth disease (parvovirus B19)
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Additionally, other congenital infections can affect babies, including:
- Chagas disease
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
- Lyme disease
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)
- Serious bacterial infection or viral infection in the mother, including seasonal influenza
- Zika virus
TORCH infections, as well as other congenital infections, can go unrecognized if the mother has no symptoms and thus the child is not tested. A pregnant parent may have a viral illness, such as flu, and may not directly pass it to the child. During pregnancy, should the parent have an illness and fever, the baby may need special evaluation before and after delivery.
TORCH Infection Symptoms
Symptoms of TORCH will depend on the infection or disease a child is exposed to in the womb. Generally, symptoms may include:
- Failure to thrive
- Developmental and learning disabilities
TORCH Infection Diagnosis: TORCH Screen
Diagnosis of TORCH infection or another congenital infection is done through a TORCH screen. The screen is a group of blood tests that check for infections in a newborn. The test is sometimes spelled TORCHS, where the “S” stands for syphilis. The testing is done through a blood sample from the baby’s finger or foot.
TORCH Infection Treatment
Treatment is based on the specific virus or condition the child is experiencing. The pediatric infectious disease specialists with Norton Children’s Infectious Diseases can work to develop a treatment plan based on the child’s specific congenital infection diagnosis.