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Toxoplasmosis is infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Most people who become infected don't have symptoms. This is because the
immune system is usually able to fight the
Toxoplasmosis is dangerous to a
pregnant woman and her
fetus. For more information, see the topic
Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy.
Toxoplasmosis can result
If you are pregnant when first infected with
Toxoplasma gondii, you can give the infection to your
You may also receive it through an organ transplantation or
a transfusion, although this is rare.
Most people with
toxoplasmosis don't have symptoms. When symptoms are present, they are often
flu-like and may include swollen
lymph glands or muscle aches and pains that last for a
few days to several weeks.
Severe toxoplasmosis results in damage to the eyes or
the brain. Infants who became infected before birth may be born with serious
mental or physical problems.
A person with an immune system weakened by
HIV infection, organ transplant medicines, or
lymphoma can develop life-threatening toxoplasmosis.
Severe symptoms vary depending on which part of the body is affected.
If the infection is in the:
Because there are
typically no symptoms, it is hard to know whether you are infected. If you
think that you may have toxoplasmosis, talk to your doctor. He or
she may do specific blood tests for toxoplasmosis.
In an otherwise healthy person
who is not pregnant, treatment is not needed. Symptoms will usually go away
within a few weeks.
For pregnant women or people who have weakened
immune systems, medicines are available to treat toxoplasmosis. For more
information, see the topic Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy.
toxoplasmosis usually has no symptoms or only mild symptoms, most people don't
need to worry about getting it. But if you have a weakened immune system
or are pregnant, you should take steps to prevent toxoplasmosis.
Cats only spread Toxoplasma gondii in their feces
for a few weeks after they are first infected with the parasite. They rarely
have symptoms when first infected, so most people don't know whether their cat
has been exposed to Toxoplasma gondii. Good tests are
not available to determine whether your cat is passing Toxoplasma gondii in its feces.
healthy people should not worry about their cat and Toxoplasma gondii. But if you have an impaired immune system or are
Your veterinarian can answer other questions you may have
about your cat and the risk for toxoplasmosis.
October 18, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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