Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite named Toxoplasma gondii which is produced sexually in cats. The eggs of the parasite though reproduced in the cat’s body, does not affect it and exits it through excretion. Once excreted, these parasites if ingested can affect both people and animals. Besides it can transmit through undercooked meat and contaminated water.
While around 60 million people have been reported to be infected with Toxoplasma gondii in US, most of them neither show any symptom nor require treatment. However, the conditions are found to be serious in case of pregnant women, foetus, infants and people who have a weak immune system.
Few symptoms associated with Toxoplasmosis which does not last for more than a month and in most cases, resolve on their own, and include headache, muscle pain, sore throat, fever and swollen lymph nodes. In case of people who are susceptible to serious conditions, brain inflammation, eye and lung infection are observed.
Toxoplasmosis is diagnosed with the help of antigens which aid in marking the presence of infection causing foreign particles in the body. While most of the conditions do not require treatment, in case of serious conditions, few medications like pyrimethamine, atovaquone, clindamycin, spiramycin and sulfadiazine are recommended.For HIV patients, an additional intake of vitamin B supplement might also be required. In case of pregnancy, medications are provided considering the health condition of the mother and the foetus so that the side effects of these drugs can be minimized.
Few ways identified as preventive measures include washing all fresh produce before consuming, washing the utensils used to handle raw meat, proper cooking of meat and washing hands after cleaning cat litter. Pregnant women must especially abstain from cleaning cat faeces as this acts the biggest risk factor in getting infected with Toxoplasmosis.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.