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Toxoplasmosis - Types & Causes

Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Dec 08, 2016
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Types & Causes

Toxoplasmosis infections in people fall into three basic patterns:

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  • Congenital toxoplasmosis, in which the child becomes infected before birth.
  • Toxoplasmosis in an otherwise healthy child.
  • Toxoplasmosis in a child with a weak immune system.

Cats are the definitive host of the parasite. Over 80-90% of primary infections produce no symptoms. The incubation period for symptoms is 1 to 2 weeks.

There are many ways by which Toxoplasma can be transmitted to humans:

  • When the mother becomes infected with Toxoplasma during pregnancy the parasite is transmitted directly from the pregnant mother to her unborn child.
  • Consumption and handling of undercooked or raw meat from infected animals.
  • Ingestion of food or water or inhalation of dust contaminated with the eggs of Toxoplasma organisms (called Oocysts).
  • Drinking unpasteurized milk.
  • Working in gardens or playing in sandboxes that contain cat feces.
  • Eating uncooked, unwashed fruits or vegetables that have been contaminated by manure

A collection of fluid (eg. like water) in a closed sac. Cyst can appear anywhere in the body including brain, lungs, liver, kidneys or bones.

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Pigs, sheep, goats, and poultry are sources of meat commonly infected with Toxoplasma. Of all the infected animals tested, only cats are the perfect hosts for the production of the infectious and resistant Toxoplasma oocysts. The oocyst, released from the intestine of cats in their feces, is very hardy and can survive sleet, freezing, and even several months of extreme heat and dehydration. Moreover, oocysts can be carried long distances by wind and water.

Congenital toxoplasmosis is caused by infection with Toxoplasma gondii in a pregnant woman. 50% of such infections are transmitted to the fetus. Signs of congenital infection may be present at birth or develop over the first few months of life.

Toxoplasma infection does not normally spread from person to person but in rare instances toxoplasmosis can contaminate blood transfusions and organs donated for transplantation.

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Comments

vulcanneles

I have this stupid ,mfking thing for more than 6 years. Unfortunatly we live in this universe and the universal laws apply at all the levels. What can b done? if we can get in the cyst, with poison strong enogh , we can get rid of tht mfking bunch of organisms tht don't want anything alse , just to survive and reproduce. Is all bout transfering the energy, from me to them, or from outside enviroment to me to survive! Good luck apply 2!

Rachel123

I am healthy 37yr women, I first got toxoplasmosis in my left eye in 2005 then again in 2006 and is currently being treated for it again since June 2011.on all three occasions was treated with antibioctic and eye drops. I was first told that could return up to three times in my life, now it has return for the third time I have been told that it can return as many times as it likes, this concerns me as it has already affected my vision and I am worried i may lose my sight if it returns again . I have learnt more about it on google than I have from my eye specialist and doctor.not sure if I should get a blood test done or other test but no one has recommended that I do. now it's in the paper that it may be connected to brain cancer,dont know if it can spread from eye to brain..hope not.Had a lot of cats as a child thats seems to be when I may of come incontact with it. Rachel

Robinjr17

Hi Rachel....I am a 43 year old woman with toxoplasmosis in my eye. It has happened twice also and I have no other real symptoms except extreme stress and aniety from a crazy divorce. I hate reading the things online because they sound so hopeless..... Did you get your whole eyesight back?

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