What is Toxoplasmosis?

One of the most prevalent parasites in the world, Toxoplasma gondii, causes the disease toxoplasmosis. Typically, infection results from consuming tainted undercooked meat, coming into contact with contaminated cat faeces, or mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy.

Some individuals with toxoplasmosis may experience flu-like symptoms, although the majority of afflicted patients never show any signs or symptoms. Toxoplasmosis may result in life-threatening consequences for those with low immune systems and infants delivered to infected mothers.


Most healthy individuals who have toxoplasmosis don't exhibit any symptoms and are unaware that they are affected. However, some people experience symptoms that resemble flu, such as:

People who have weak immunity systems

A past toxoplasma infection may recur if you have HIV/AIDS, are getting chemotherapy, or have just undergone an organ transplant. In that situation, you could experience more severe infection-related signs and symptoms, such as:

For infants and children

If you contract the infection for the first time right before or during pregnancy, you could give it to your unborn child (congenital toxoplasmosis). This may happen even if you don't experience any symptoms yourself.

The third trimester is when you are at maximum risk of transmission of toxoplasmosis, while the first trimester is when you are least likely to do so. Additionally, please note that your baby's condition will be more critical if you get contracted early on in your pregnancy.

Many early infections result in miscarriage or stillbirth. Infants who make it through birth are more likely to have major issues, such as:

  • Seizures
  • An enlarged spleen and liver
  • Whites of the eyes and skin become yellow (jaundice)
  • Acute infections of the eyes

A very tiny percentage of infants with toxoplasmosis exhibit symptoms at birth. Infants frequently do not exhibit any symptoms such as hearing loss, mental impairment, or severe eye infections until teenage.

When To See Doctor?

If you believe you may have been exposed to toxoplasmosis and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, discuss getting tested with your doctor.

If you experience severe toxoplasmosis symptoms like blurred vision, confusion, or lack of coordination, you should seek emergency medical attention, especially if your immune system is already compromised.


Most animals and birds can get the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), which has only one cell. The parasite's primary hosts are wild and domesticated cats because T. gondii infectious organisms are only shed in cat faeces. Following can be other causes:

  • Contact with parasite-carrying cat faeces: If you touch your mouth after gardening, cleaning a litter box, or touching anything that has come in contact with contaminated cat faeces, you could unintentionally consume the parasite. The most likely hosts of T. gondii in cats are those who hunt or who eat raw meat.
  • Consuming tainted food or water: T. gondii infection is particularly likely to occur in lambs, pigs, and venisons. On rare occasions, the parasite may also be present in unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Using contaminated cutting boards, knives, or other implements: After handling raw meat, if kitchen equipments are not properly cleaned in hot, soapy water they may carry parasites.
  • Consuming unwashed fresh food: The parasite might be present on the surface of fresh fruits, especially those that you eat raw, should be carefully washed and peeled for safety.
  • Receiving blood transfusions or an infected organ transplant: Although rare, toxoplasmosis may spread by blood transfusions or organ transplants.


Even though otherwise healthy people occasionally get eye infections, you are not likely to experience toxoplasmosis consequences if your immune system is functioning normally. Toxoplasmosis may cause blindness if left untreated.

If your immune system is already compromised, particularly as a result of HIV/AIDS, this infection may cause convulsions and life-threatening conditions like encephalitis, a dangerous brain infection.

People with toxoplasmosis who also have a weaker immune system constantly worry about relapsing.

Congenital toxoplasmosis in children can cause debilitating problems like blindness, mental retardation, and loss of hearing.


Toxoplasmosis can be prevented with the following measures:

  • Using gloves when handling soil or gardening: When performing outdoor tasks, always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward.
  • Don't eat raw or undercooked foods: Lamb, hog, and beef in particular can contain toxoplasma germs. Before the meat is thoroughly cooked, avoid tasting it.
  • Using properly cleaned kitchenware: To avoid cross-contamination of foods, wash cutting boards, knives, and other utensils in hot, soapy water after handling raw meat. Ensure you also wash your hands after handling raw meat.
  • Thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables: Clean fresh produce before eating it, especially if you intend to consume it raw. When possible, remove the peels, but only after washing.
  • Consume only pasteurised milk: Milk and other dairy products that have not been pasteurised may contain toxoplasma parasites.
  • Cover sandboxes used by kids: To prevent cats from using your sandbox as a litter box ensure you keep it covered when not in use.


Without proper screening, toxoplasmosis is frequently challenging to identify as its symptoms resemble those of more frequent infections like flu and mononucleosis.

  • Tests during pregnancy : Blood tests to screen for antibodies may be ordered if your doctor suspects you are infected. Your immune system produces antibodies, which are proteins, in reaction to the presence of foreign things like parasites.
  • Tests for children : Finding out if your unborn child has toxoplasmosis is the next step if you are currently infected with the disease while pregnant. Your doctor might advise the following tests:
    • Amniocentesis
    • Ultrasound scan
  • Other tests : If you've gotten a potentially fatal infection like encephalitis you might need one or more imaging tests to look for lesions or cysts in your brain. These consist of:


Most healthy ,asymptomatic people don't require toxoplasmosis treatment. But if you have signs and symptoms of acute toxoplasmosis, your doctor may prescribe medications which are required to be taken according to your individual needs.

Treatment for toxoplasmosis during pregnancy may differ based on the facility where you receive care.

  • If the infection started earlier than the 16th week of pregnancy, you might be prescribed spiramycin. The use of this medication may lessen the chance of neurological issues in your baby.
  • You might be given pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid if the infection occurs after the 16th week of pregnancy or if tests reveal that your unborn child has toxoplasmosis (leucovorin). Your doctor will assist you in choosing the best course of action.
  • It is advised to treat your newborn with pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid (leucovorin) if they have toxoplasmosis or are at risk of contracting it. While taking these meds, your kid will need to be watched over by the doctor.

Do's And Don'ts

This condition requires proper treatment and a set of do’s and don’ts to be followed to manage the infection and related symptoms.

Visit a doctor immediately after being bitten by a catSelf treat this condition
Wear gloves while gardeningEat undercooked food, meat etc.
Wash your hands and keep them cleanForget to take medicines on time
Wash fruits and vegetables before eatingForget to go for routine checkups
Make sure your pet gets all vaccinesTake unpasteurized milk or raw fruits

Follow the above tips and immediately inform the doctor if there are any new symptoms.

Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most trusted team of doctors and medical experts who are experienced in providing empathetic healthcare services to our patients. Our diagnostic department is equipped with modern technology and equipment to conduct the tests required for the diagnosis of Epididymitis. We have an excellent team of Urologists who diagnose and treat this condition with utmost precision that bring successful treatment outcomes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1: What is Toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. It can affect humans and animals and is typically transmitted through contact with contaminated soil, undercooked meat, or exposure to infected cat feces.

2: How is Toxoplasmosis transmitted?

Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted through consumption of undercooked or raw meat containing the parasite, ingestion of food or water contaminated with oocysts (parasite eggs) from cat feces, and from mother to fetus during pregnancy.

3: What are the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis?

Many people with Toxoplasmosis experience no symptoms. However, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, fever, and swollen lymph nodes can occur. In severe cases, it can affect the eyes, brain, and other organs, leading to more severe symptoms.

4: Is Toxoplasmosis dangerous?

While Toxoplasmosis is often mild or asymptomatic in healthy individuals, it can be dangerous for pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and those with ocular (eye) involvement. Severe cases can lead to serious health complications.

5: How is Toxoplasmosis diagnosed?

Toxoplasmosis is diagnosed through blood tests that detect antibodies against the parasite. In cases of ocular or severe infections, other tests like eye exams or biopsies may be necessary for diagnosis.

6: How can Toxoplasmosis be prevented?

Preventive measures include cooking meat thoroughly, washing hands and utensils after handling raw meat, avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked eggs, washing fruits and vegetables, and practicing good hygiene, especially around cats.

7: Can Toxoplasmosis be treated?

Treatment is available, particularly for severe cases and in immunocompromised individuals. Medications like pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine are commonly used to treat Toxoplasmosis.

8: Is Toxoplasmosis a risk for pregnant women?

Yes, Toxoplasmosis can be particularly concerning for pregnant women as it can harm the developing fetus. Pregnant women are advised to avoid contact with cat litter and follow safe food handling practices.

9: Can cats transmit Toxoplasmosis to humans?

Cats can be carriers of Toxoplasma gondii, but the risk of transmission from cats to humans is relatively low. It's important to practice proper hygiene when handling cat litter and feces.

10: Can Toxoplasmosis be transmitted between humans?

Direct human-to-human transmission is rare. However, organ transplant, blood transfusion, and vertical transmission from mother to fetus are potential modes of transmission between humans.

11: How can pet owners prevent Toxoplasmosis in their cats?

Pet owners can prevent Toxoplasmosis in cats by feeding them commercial cat food, keeping them indoors to prevent hunting, avoiding feeding raw meat, and practicing proper hygiene when handling litter.

12: Is Toxoplasmosis more dangerous for people with weakened immune systems?

Yes, individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, are at a higher risk of developing severe forms of Toxoplasmosis.

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