Toxoplasmosis is caused due to an infection by one of the most common parasites called the Toxoplasma gondii. This type of infection occurs when you eat undercooked food, moldy foods, rotten meat, etc. Toxoplasmosis may also cause flu and other serious health conditions.
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
Most Toxoplasmosis-affected people are not aware of whether they are infected by Toxoplasmosis. This is because Toxoplasmosis rarely shows signs and symptoms; therefore, it becomes quite hectic to figure out its presence. Toxoplasmosis signs and symptoms related to the symptoms of flu include:
People with HIV have extremely low immune systems and are more likely to get affected by Toxoplasmosis. For those types of people, signs and symptoms may vary according to their body conditions.
- Poor coordination
- Lung problems like pneumonia
- Blurred vision due to severe inflammation
Symptoms shown in babies
There is a huge chance of transmitting your Toxoplasmosis infection to your baby before or during your pregnancy. This sort of transmission is known as congenital transmission. This transmission can happen even if you don’t show up any signs and symptoms.
Your baby is at a higher risk of contracting Toxoplasmosis if you become infected either in the first trimester or third trimester of your pregnancy. As early as you figure out the presence of Toxoplasmosis in your body, the more chances you can easily get out of the infection.
Early infections of Toxoplasmosis may result in stillbirth or miscarriage. It may also cause other serious problems, such as:
- An enlarged liver
- Yellowing of the skin
- Whites eyes (Occur due to vitritis or congenital cataract )
- Acute eye infections
A very small percentage of babies show signs related to Toxoplasmosis. Some of the famous symptoms include hearing loss, mental disability or serious eye infections.
Causes of Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasma gondii is a Uni-celled parasitic organism that infects mostly birds and animals. These organisms are excreted only in domestic and wild cat faeces.
You can become prone to Toxoplasmosis due to any one of the following conditions:
You can easily get affected by Toxoplasmosis by consuming raw or undercooked meat.
Foods that are more prone to Toxoplasmosis are:
Make sure all meat and shellfish are cooked at moderate temperature.
Handwashing is a super necessary quality that one must follow to protect themselves from Toxoplasmosis.
Contaminated food and water
Apart from meat and shellfish, T.goindii vastly contaminates food and water. This menacing parasite then moves into the human body when they eat contaminated food. Hence, to avoid such things, always double clean the fruits and vegetables before you eat.
Contamination can also happen when you keep your utensils in close contact with raw meat or any food which is affected by Toxoplasmosis.
How to diagnose Toxoplasmosis?
A doctor will perform a normal blood test to check the presence of antibodies related to T.gondii. If you are already affected by T.gondii, antibodies of the parasite will be seen in your blood. Suppose if your antibody test is positive, then you must have had Toxoplasmosis in your life.
However, if you are tested positive, it does not mean you have active Toxoplasmosis.
Testing for active infection of Toxoplasmosis may result in examining two types of antibodies called IgM and IgG.
Working with these two antibodies
IgM antibodies can be seen after the infection of Toxoplasmosis and may rise and fall depending on the body condition of an individual.
IgG antibodies appear two weeks after the infection of Toxoplasmosis. These types of antibodies will be present for a longer period of time.
A molecular sample can also be performed for the detection of T.goidii parasites.
In case you are pregnant and have an active infection of Toxoplasmosis, your doctor will examine your fetus’s blood and amniotic fluid to determine whether Toxoplasmosis has been transmitted into your fetus.
Sometimes, Ultrasound is also employed to determine the presence of Toxoplasmosis in the fetus.
What are the complications involved in Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis causes serious complications, especially for pregnant women and their babies. It also causes serious complications to people with fragile immune systems, especially to people affected by HIV.
Complications caused to pregnant women
Pregnant women must be very cautious about Toxoplasmosis infection as it can infect the uterus. Toxoplasmosis also leads to premature delivery and miscarriage.
When a baby is born with Toxoplasmosis, it may have lasting consequences on the body, affecting both the eyes and brain of the baby.
Complications of Toxoplasmosis for HIV People
People who are affected by Toxoplasmosis experience serious problems during the time of Toxoplasmosis. Some of the complications include:
- Vision changes
- Thinking and memory problems
Ocular Toxoplasmosis is an eye vision that causes eye pain, light sensitivity and blurriness in vision.
Toxoplasmosis can also affect other areas of the body like:
How is Toxoplasmosis treated?
You may not need treatment for Toxoplasmosis when you are under the following conditions:
- Good health condition
- Asymptomatic to Toxoplasmosis
- Mild symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
Treatment is required for a person with a weekend immune system who is affected by severe Toxoplasmosis.
The common medications your doctor may prescribe include:
- Pyrimethamine – It is an antiparasitic drug. It can also be used for the treatment of Malaria.
- Sulfadiazine – It is also an antibiotic. It targets bacteria and infections related to bacteria.
Pyrimethamine decreases the level of folic acid present in the body. In order to curtail folic acid, folinic acid or leucovorin is given to prevent folic acid deficiency in the body.
People with a weekend immune system should need treatment for at least four to six weeks, even if the symptoms disappear. In rare cases, treatment may continue closely for six months.
Toxoplasmosis treatment during pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis treatment is completely different compared to normal treatment. Treatment primarily depends on the severity of the infection and the rate of contraction of the fetus.
In case the fetus is not affected by Toxoplasmosis, then you will be prescribed medications with the intent to prevent the transmission of infection to the baby.
Spiramycin is an antiparasitic and antibiotic medication particularly recommended 18 weeks before the infection of Toxoplasmosis.
Apart from this, medications like pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid are used.
Congenital Toxoplasmosis treatment
Newborns with signs and symptoms related to Toxoplasmosis are typically treated with the combination of folinic acid, pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine for a minimum of 12 months.
However, both medications like pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine can cause side effects, including liver toxicity and bone marrow suppression that helps in the production of white blood cells. Because of this, these infants need regular monitoring of their blood counts and liver function.
How to prevent Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis can be prevented by practising proper hygiene and knowing the effective methods. Important prevention tips for Toxoplasmosis include:
- Wash your hands properly, especially when cleaning the cat litter box, before and after preparing food and after gardening in contaminated soil.
- When cooking meat, always make sure to cook under proper internal temperature before eating it.
- Do not drink raw water.
- Clean all the utensils with zero stains, especially after cooking raw meat.
- Take utmost precaution to keep your cat indoors all the time to prevent T.goindii infections.
During the pregnancy period, pregnant women must hire someone to clean the cat litter box. If you want to clean it by yourself, make sure to clean it by wearing proper gloves and wash your hands regularly after using it.
Basically, Toxoplasmosis is an infection that causes flu-like symptoms. The major reason for the spread of Toxoplasmosis is eating the raw and undercooked meat. Toxoplasmosis-affected people do not show symptoms related to Toxoplasmosis in the initial stage. Toxoplasmosis may lead to serious complications for fetuses, newborns and pregnant people.
Last but not least, if you suspect your close or loved ones are suffering from Toxoplasmosis symptoms, reach out immediately to the doctor for prompt treatment.
1. What is the incubation period for Toxoplasmosis?
The general incubation period for Toxoplasmosis is 5 to 25 days depending on the severity of the symptoms.
2. How does Toxoplasmosis spread?
The main spread of Toxoplasmosis is due to the intake of raw cooked meat or through the ingestion of oocysts, a perilous organism that is spread via cat faeces.
3. What are the signs of Toxoplasmosis in humans?
Some of the common symptoms shown in the human body are body aches, headaches, fever, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.
4. Can Toxoplasmosis be cured?
Yes, Toxoplasmosis is a curable disease. However, Congenital Toxoplasmosis can be cured via medication.
5. Can you get Toxoplasmosis from petting a cat?
Yes, the chances are higher if you have a cat in your home because Toxoplasmosis vastly spreads via cat faeces, and it is very important to take care of your cat only indoors.
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