TOXOPLASMOSIS

Description

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii)

Symptoms

  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • In people with weakened immune systems:
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Seizures
  • Lung problems
  • Blurred vision caused by severe inflammation of your retina
  • In babies:
  • Seizures
  • An enlarged liver and spleen
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Severe eye infections
  • Problems in pregnancy:
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Congenital toxoplasmosis

Causes

  • Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) parasite
  • Infected if you:
  • Come into contact with cat feces that contain the parasite
  • Eat or drink contaminated food or water
  • Use contaminated knives, cutting boards or other utensils
  • Eat unwashed fruits and vegetables
  • Receive an infected organ transplant or transfused blood

Risk Factors

  • People undergoing chemotherapy
  • People with HIV/AIDS
  • Consuming steroids or other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Pregnant women

Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood test
  • Diagnosis during pregnancy:
  • Amniocentesis
  • Ultrasound scan
  • For people with a weak immune system:
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Brain biopsy

Treatment

  • Medication:
  • Pyrimethamine (Daraprim)
  • Sulfadiazine
  • For people with HIV/AIDS:
  • Pyrimethamine with folic acid
  • Sulfadiazine with folic acid
  • Pyrimethamine with clindamycin (Cleocin)
  • Toxoplasmosis therapy
  • For pregnant women and babies:
  • Antibiotic spiramycin
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Sulfadiazine
  • Folic acid

Lifestyle Management

  • Don’t drink unpasteurized milk
  • Wear gloves when you garden or handle soil
  • Wash all fresh produce before you eat it
  • Make sure all meat is properly cooked
  • Wash all utensils that are used to handle raw meat
  • Wash your hands after cleaning or scooping cat litter
  • Help your cat stay healthy