Guide Toxoplasmosis

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A healthy child with toxoplasmosis may have no signs of infection or only a few swollen glands that:.

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Most healthy kids with these symptoms won't need medical treatment unless the infection gets worse. Kids whose immune systems are weakened for example, by AIDS , cancer , or medicines taken after organ transplants are at special risk for severe toxoplasmosis infections. Especially in children with AIDS, toxoplasmosis can attack the brain and nervous system, causing toxoplasmic encephalitis an inflammation of the brain with symptoms that include:.

How common is toxoplasmosis?

Although toxoplasmosis parasites may grow and multiply within a week of entering a person's body, it may be weeks or months before symptoms of infection appear if they appear at all. Once someone becomes infected with toxoplasmosis, the infection remains in the body for life, usually in a latent inactive form that won't cause side effects or harm.

Toxoplasmosis - Plain and Simple

The infection can be reactivated, however, if the immune system becomes compromised by an HIV infection or cancer therapy. In a child with a healthy immune system, mild symptoms of toxoplasmosis such as swollen glands usually pass within a few months, even without medical treatment. But kids born with severe congenital toxoplasmosis may have permanent vision problems or mental retardation. And in a child with a weakened immune system, toxoplasmosis can be fatal.

What Is Toxoplasmosis?

Doctors can diagnose toxoplasmosis through laboratory tests that check for microscopic parasites in the blood, spinal fluid, amniotic fluid, placenta, lymph nodes, bone marrow, or other body tissues. More often, doctors order blood tests to measure the level of antibodies substances that are part of the body's defensive immune reaction produced to fight the parasites.

What causes toxoplasmosis?

Genetic tests can identify the DNA-containing genes of toxoplasmosis parasites once they've invaded the body. These tests are especially useful for checking the amniotic fluid for evidence of congenital toxoplasmosis in a fetus. Obstetricians may use ultrasounds to help diagnose congenital toxoplasmosis.

For babies, doctors ask the mother about things like exposure to household cats or contaminated food or water sources.


Tests that might be done for these babies include eye, ear, and nervous system examinations, spinal fluid analysis, and imaging of the head to look for changes in the brain. Unless someone has a weakened immune system or is pregnant, there's often no need to treat a toxoplasmosis infection — symptoms such as swollen glands usually go away on their own in a few weeks or months. However, kids should always be checked by a doctor because swollen glands can be a sign of other illnesses.

If a pregnant woman gets infected, her doctor and an infectious disease specialist work together to create a treatment plan. Children born with congenital toxoplasmosis are treated with different combinations of anti-toxoplasmosis medications, usually for 1 year after birth. A specialist will decide which medicines to use and for how long.

Mother-to-child transmission rates have been reported to range from However, babies infected early in pregnancy have a greater risk of congenital anomalies Di Mario et al The evidence on the benefits to women and babies of testing for toxoplasmosis is limited and inconclusive. Tests for toxoplasmosis aim to identify whether maternal infection is acute or chronic.

Toxoplasma 'cat poo' parasite infects billions – so why is it so hard to study?

There is great heterogeneity between the studies, making it difficult to comment on the predictive and diagnostic accuracy of one test over another. No high-level evidence on the harms and benefits of testing for toxoplasmosis was identified.

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  • A narrative review found that psychological consequences of testing included parental anxiety due to false positive results and uncertainties related to prognosis of children with a diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis Khoshnood et al Spiramycin and sulphonamide medications have been used to treat toxoplasmosis with the aim of reducing mother-to-child transmission and the severity of fetal infection Peyron et al A subsequent review Peyron et al concluded that despite the large number of studies performed, it is still not known whether treatment of pregnant women with presumed toxoplasmosis reduces the transmission of T.

    There is suggestive evidence that women may have low levels of knowledge about the risks associated with T.

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    Is there anything wrong with this page? Learn more about it. This is still a work in progress, so please let us know what you think. Home Health topics Initiatives and programs Resources. On this page. Recommendation Grade C 48 Do not routinely offer testing for toxoplasmosis to pregnant women.