What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection that is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite is found in uncooked meat, cat feces, especially meats like lamb, pork and venison. This parasite can also be transmitted through water that is contaminated.
Toxoplasmosis can really be fatal for a fetus and can cause serious birth defects, if the mother go infected with this disease, during gravidity and childbirth. This is the reason why all doctors advise gestating women not to scoop or clean cat litters during her pregnancy. Most people who gets infected with Toxoplasmosis, never have any symptoms at all. People those who have compromised immune system are most affected with this disease.In very rare cases, this infection may get transmitted through transplanted organ or through blood transfusion in between people. Cats and other warm bodied animals don’t usually show signs of this infectious disease, even though they the host of Toxoplasma gondii parasite.
Once you show signs of toxoplasmosis, the doctor will perform a blood test to check for antibodies to this parasite. An antibody is a kind of protein, that the immune system produces, when it get threatened by injurious and unsafe substances. When the antibodies, detect foreign substances in the body, it detects it by surface markers called antigens. So once an antibody has developed against any particular antigen, it remains in blood, to protect the body against future infections with that particular foreign substance.
So, if you have ever been exposed to Toxoplasma gondii parasite, certain antibodies will be there in your blood, which will make your blood test appear positive for the T.gondii antibodies. However this positive result does not mean that you are presently affected with this disease. So, the doctor will perform further blood tests to figure out exactly when you were infected with this parasite.
For pregnant women, who is detected of an active toxoplasmosis infection, the medical practitioner may test the fetus’ blood and the mother’s amniotic fluid. Ultrasound scans can also help to determine if the fetus has been infected with the T.gondii parasite.If it is found that the fetus is infected with toxoplasmosis, the doctor may advice for termination of the pregnancy, depending on the gestational age of the baby. If not, doctor will possibly prescribe antibiotics to reduce the symptoms of this deadly infection on the gestating baby.
For children, newborns who survived this infection have lasting consequences on their eyes, brain, lungs and heart. They can also have recurrent seizures and delay in mental and physical development later on in their lives.
What is Toxoplasmosis?