TORCHES or the TORCHES infections is a medical acronym for a set of perinatal infections (i.e. infections that are passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus). The TORCHES infections can lead to severe fetal anomalies or even fetal loss. They are a group of viral, bacterial, and protozoan infections that gain access to the fetal bloodstream transplacentally via the chorionic villi. Hematogenous transmission may occur at any time during gestation or occasionally at the time of delivery via maternal-to-fetal transfusion.
The TORCHES complex was originally considered to consist of four conditions, with the "TO" referring to "Toxoplasma". and the acronym is spelled out as follows:
TO – Toxoplasmosis / Toxoplasma gondii
R – Rubella
C – Cytomegalovirus
HE – Herpes simplex virus
S – Syphilis
The acronym has also been listed as TORCHES, for Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes simplex, Syphilis.The diseases present similarly, involving the heart, skin, eye, and CNS. These microbial agentes are capable cause chorioretinitis, microcephaly, and focal cerebral calcification.