What is TORCH Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is TORCH Syndrome?

TORCH Syndrome is the name given to an infection of the fetus when it is in the developing stage by any of the following infectious agents namely Toxoplasmosis. Other Agents that can cause this infection include HIV, syphilis and varicella, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes Simplex.

If the fetus gets infected by any of these agents then the newborn will have a myriad of symptoms at the time of birth. These symptoms may include fever, problems with feeding, and areas of bleeding under the skin giving it an appearance of small erythematous spots.

The infant will also have hepatosplenomegaly and jaundice. The infant may also not be able to hear normally. He or she will have ocular abnormalities as well as a result of TORCH Syndrome.

What is TORCH Syndrome?

Depending on the infectious agent the child may also exhibit additional symptoms but that will be variable in nature depending on the severity of the disease and at what stage the fetus got infected by the agent causing TORCH Syndrome.

What are the Causes of TORCH Syndrome?

As stated above, TORCH Syndrome is a pathological condition which is caused when the fetus during its development gets infected by any of the following infectious agents namely toxoplasmosis, or other agents like rubella, cytomegalovirus, and herpes zoster. It is still not clear as to how the fetus gets infected but it is something which is under research. The other agents causing TORCH syndrome include HIV, syphilis, and varicella infections.

What are the Symptoms of TORCH Syndrome?

If a fetus is infected by any of the agents mentioned above then the outcome of the pregnancy may become complicated. It may result in miscarriage, stillbirth, or intrauterine growth retardation. It may also result in preterm delivery of the child.

The infant born with TORCH Syndrome may exhibit a group of symptoms to include lethargy, fever, problems with feeding, enlargement of the liver and spleen, and decreased levels of hemoglobin. Additionally, the infant will have erythematous spots on the skin which may be caused by bleeding under the areas of the skin.

Jaundice is also one of the common symptoms seen in infants with TORCH Syndrome. Additionally, ocular symptoms with inflammation of the middle and inner layer of the eyes are also seen in infants with TORCH Syndrome.

Each infectious agent will cause a set of symptoms in the child but the severity of the symptoms are highly variable and depend on the stage of the fetus at which time it was infected by infectious agents causing TORCH Syndrome.

How is TORCH Syndrome Treated?

The treatment of TORCH Syndrome depends on the causative factor meaning that the infectious agent causing the symptoms is identified first and then treatment is formulated based on that. In case if more than one infectious agent is active on the infant then treatment will be formulated to treat both the conditions simultaneously.
The treatment for TORCH Syndrome also depends on the stage at which time the fetus was infected by the agents and how severe the infection is. If toxoplasmosis is identified to be the causative factor then the infant may be treated with medications like sulfadiazine.

If Herpes simplex is the causative factor then treatment may include acyclovir which is a very potent antiviral agent. Symptomatic and supportive measures are used to treat infants with rubella and cytomegalovirus as a causative factor for development of TORCH Syndrome.