Also known as: TORCH syndrome, TORCH infections.

What is TORCH?

TORCH (or TORCH syndrome) is the short term used to describe a group of diseases that are passed from mother to baby during pregnancy (congenital). The “letters” stand for:

What causes TORCH?

TORCH occurs when a mother has or develops one of these infections and passes it through her blood stream to her unborn baby.

What are the symptoms of TORCH?

Symptoms can vary widely depending on the particular infection. They often include symptoms such as irritability, failure to thrive, rashes, developmental and learning disabilities, anemia and many other possible symptoms.

How is TORCH syndrome detected?

TORCH infections may be diagnosed in children before birth or when they are newborns. Women are often tested for TORCH infections while pregnant with a blood test or viral culture. A viral culture is done using a sample of fluid or tissue from the body, such as saliva, mucus, urine or other. If a child has a TORCH infection before birth, this can sometimes be detected and diagnosed during a prenatal ultrasound test.

After a child is born, healthcare providers can test for a TORCH examination in the baby with a physical exam, evaluation of the baby’s symptoms and blood tests or viral cultures to test for infection. If a TORCH infection is present, then the doctor might use additional tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) to determine the extent of infection or identify complications.

How to create a TORCH profile?

A TORCH profile is a broad range of antibodies that healthcare providers will look for when they perform a TORCH screening test. These antibodies are ones that the body produces when it is fighting a TORCH infection, and they are a good sign that one of the TORCH infections is present in the body.

Your healthcare provider will create this profile when conducting a TORCH screening test on your blood or other bodily fluid. If a TORCH infection is present, it may contain antibodies that the body would produce against toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus and more.

What are TORCH care options?

Treatment varies widely depending on the particular organism causing the infection, when it occurs and the specific symptoms and complications associated with it.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: May 22, 2024 03:08 PM

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