Information about toxoplasmosis
What is toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is defined as an infectious disease transmitted from domestic animals to humans, caused by a protozoan called “toxoplasma gondii”.
How is toxoplasmosis transmitted
Toxoplasmosis is transmitted to humans from domestic animals and especially felines. The transmission occurs by swallowing the parasite through contact with cat feces, by the following ways:
- When you do not wash your hands properly after having cleaned the cat’s litter box.
- When you touch objects contaminated by cat feces while barehanded.
- When you do not wash your hands properly after having touched raw meat or kitchen utensils and cutlery that have been in contact with raw meat.
- When you eat raw or undercooked, contaminated meat.
- In rare cases, there may be an infection after a blood transfusion or organ transplantation.
Causes of toxoplasmosis
As already mentioned, toxoplasmosis is caused by Toxoplasma gondii. This protozoan infects humans and animals such as cats, birds and cattle.
Symptoms of toxoplasmosis
The symptoms of toxoplasmosis do not occur in all people infected. The most common symptoms are:
- Muscle aches
- Skin rash
Fetuses whose mothers were infected during pregnancy develop the following symptoms:
- Damage to the brain and eyes
- Mental retardation (in older age)
Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis can be diagnosed by the following laboratory tests:
- Sabin-Feldman test that measures IgG antibodies. A significant increase in the IgG level is indicative of a recent infection.
- ELISA and ISAGA methods that detect IgA and IgE antibodies. A considerable increase in their rate indicates recent infection, but it is not a sufficient proof, because sometimes this rate remains stable over a year.
Treatment of toxoplasmosis
Healthy people do not require treatment. On the contrary, the use of antibiotics is recommended for pregnant women. Early diagnosis of toxoplasmosis reduces the risk of mother to child transmission. Prescription medication depends on the stage of pregnancy.
Prevention measures of toxoplasmosis
The infection of toxoplasmosis can be prevented by the following measures:
- Wash your hands thoroughly after having touched cats or their feces.
- Avoid contact with infected animals.
- Do not eat raw meat.
- Wash thoroughly fruits and vegetables that can be consumed raw.
- Clean-up the cat’s litter box carefully.
- Wear gloves when gardening or doing housework.
The doctor to treat toxoplasmosis is the Gynecologist – Obstetrician
Book your appointment with a Gynecologist – Obstetrician