TORCH Infections and Infant Mortality

September 3, 2019

TORCH infections cover a range of infectious disease that can affect newborns and fetuses. However, there are conditions that share symptoms with TORCH infections that fall outside of its sphere.

Drs. Karen Burgess and Sara Phillips, physicians in the pediatrics department at University Medical Center, which is run by the College of Community Health Sciences, presented at the August Grand Rounds at DCH Medical Center on a challenging case that featured twins, one with normal features and the other with skeletal abnormalities.

Burgess and Phillips led the group of medical professionals through the investigative process of determining what could be causing the skeletal abnormalities in one twin, but not the other.

They discussed TORCH infections, ruled out fetal alcohol syndrome, and debated choosing which scans and blood tests were salient. Both twins were found to have minor microcalcifications.

Unfortunately, the patients in question never returned for the follow-up visit, so the official cause was not determined. However, Burgess and Phillips reminded the gathered group that the next time a similar situation arises the team in pediatrics would be prepared with new theories and a refresher on infectious diseases that can trouble newborns and fetuses.

The College’s Grand Rounds program, which provides Continuing Medical Education for physicians and other health professionals, is designed to help medical professionals and learners look at past cases and learn from the investigative process. In this case, the challenge of the presentation was in understanding the wide berth of possibilities in a case without closure.