A study was carried out to evaluate the presence of serological markers for the immunodiagnosis of the vertical transmission of toxoplasmosis. We tested the sensitivity, specificity and predictive values (positive and negative) of different serological methods for the early diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis. In a prospective longitudinal study, 50 infants with suspected congenital toxoplasmosis were followed up in the ambulatory care centre of Congenital Infections at University Hospital in Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil, from 1 January 2004-30 September 2005. Microparticle Enzyme Immunoassay (MEIA), Enzyme-Linked Fluorescent Assay (ELFA) and Immune-Fluorescent Antibody Technique (IFAT) were used to detect specific IgM anti- Toxoplasma gondii
antibodies and a capture ELISA was used to detect specific IgA antibodies. The results showed that 28/50 infants were infected. During the neonatal period, IgM was detected in 39.3% (11/28) of those infected infants and IgA was detected in 21.4% (6/28). The sensitivity, specificity and predictive values (positive and negative) of each assay were, respectively: MEIA and ELFA: 60.9%, 100%, 100%, 55.0%; IFAT: 59.6%, 91.7%, 93.3%, 53.7%; IgA capture ELISA: 57.1%, 100%, 100%, 51.2%. The presence of specific IgM and IgA antibodies during the neonatal period was not frequent, although it was correlated with the most severe cases of congenital transmission. The results indicate that the absence of congenital disease markers (IgM and IgA) in newborns, even after confirming the absence with several techniques, does not constitute an exclusion criterion for toxoplasmosis.