Learn About Toxoplasmosis

What is the definition of Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection due to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

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What are the causes of Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is found in humans worldwide and in many kinds of animals and birds. The parasite also lives in cats.

Human infection may result from:

  • Blood transfusions or solid organ transplants
  • Handling cat litter
  • Eating contaminated soil
  • Eating raw or undercooked meat (lamb, pork, and beef)

Toxoplasmosis also affects people who have weakened immune systems. These people are more likely to have symptoms.

The infection may also be passed from an infected mother to her baby through the placenta. This results in congenital toxoplasmosis.

What are the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis?

There may be no symptoms. If there are symptoms, they usually occur about 1 to 2 weeks after contact with the parasite. The disease can affect the brain, lung, heart, eyes, or liver.

Symptoms in people with otherwise healthy immune systems can include:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Mild illness similar to mononucleosis
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat

Symptoms in people with a weakened immune system can include:

  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision due to inflammation of the retina
  • Seizures
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What are the current treatments for Toxoplasmosis?

People without symptoms usually do not need treatment.

Medicines to treat the infection include an antimalarial drug and antibiotics. People with AIDS should continue treatment for as long as their immune system is weak, to prevent the disease from reactivating.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Toxoplasmosis?

With treatment, people with a healthy immune system usually recover well.

What are the possible complications of Toxoplasmosis?

The disease may return.

In people with a weakened immune system, the infection may spread throughout the body, leading to death.

When should I contact a medical professional for Toxoplasmosis?

Contact your provider for an appointment if you develop symptoms of toxoplasmosis. Medical care is needed right away if symptoms occur in:

  • Infants or babies
  • Someone with a weakened immune system due to certain medicines or disease

Also seek medical treatment right away if the following symptoms occur:

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
How do I prevent Toxoplasmosis?

Tips for preventing this condition:

  • Do not eat undercooked meat.
  • Wash hands after handling raw meat.
  • Keep children's play areas free from cat and dog feces.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching soil that may be contaminated with animal feces.

Pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems should take the following precautions:

  • Do not clean cat litter boxes.
  • Do not touch anything that may contain cat feces.
  • Do not touch anything that could be contaminated by insects, such as cockroaches and flies that may be exposed to cat feces.

Pregnant women and those with HIV/AIDS should be screened for toxoplasmosis. A blood test can be done.

In some cases, medicine to prevent toxoplasmosis may be given.

Slit-lamp exam
Congenital toxoplasmosis
What are the latest Toxoplasmosis Clinical Trials?
Apheresis and CD34+ Selection of Mobilized Peripheral Blood CD34+ Cells From Patients With DOCK8 Deficiency, LAD-1, and GATA2 Deficiency

Background: - Gene therapy is being investigated as a possible treatment for individuals with immunodeficiency diseases or other conditions that make it difficult to fight off infection. Gene therapy avoids problems with donor identification and possible rejection of bone marrow transplant by using the patient s own modified blood cells to help treat the disease. Researchers are interested in collecting stem ...

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Genetic Diversity of Toxoplasma Gondii in Cancer Patients

Summary: I. Evaluation of T. gondii infection in cancer patients using different serological markers. II. Studying genetic lineages infecting cancer patients in Sohag Governorate to predict clinical course and therapeutic needs using B1 and RE genes.

What are the Latest Advances for Toxoplasmosis?
Disseminated Toxoplasmosis associated with Haemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis in a Patient with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Case Report and Literature Review.
Visual outcomes and complications in infantile cataract surgery: a real - world scenario.
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Treatment outcomes of macular holes in the setting of uveitis: a scoping review.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 23, 2021
Published By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Mcleod R, Boyer KM. Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma gondii). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 316.

Montoya JG, Boothroyd JC, Kovacs JA. Toxoplasma gondii. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 278.