Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii.

The toxoplasmic trophozoites cause acute toxoplasmosis (tachyzoites).and are typically found in various tissues and body fluids, but rarely in blood or cerebrospinal fluid.

Infections with toxoplasmosis usually cause no obvious symptoms in adults.Intracellular protozoan parasite completes its life cycle in cats.

Humans intermediate hosts in which ingested oocytes become trophozoites that encyst throughout the body.

Can be acquired by handling or eating raw or undercooked meat.

Risk factors:

Eating poorly cooked food

Exposure to infected cat feces.

Toxoplasmosis is usually spread by eating poorly cooked food that contains cysts, exposure to infected cat feces, and from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy.

Rarely, the disease may be spread by blood transfusion.

It is not otherwise spread from person to person.

Toxoplasma gondii parasite is known to reproduce sexually only in the cat family.

Toxoplasma gondii can infect most types of warm-blooded animals, including humans.

T.  infections are occasionally associated with few weeks or months of mild, flu-like illness such as muscle aches and tender lymph nodes.

Often symptomatic.

Acute toxoplasmosis is manifested by a mononucleosis like syndrome with cervical adenopathy, generalized, and diffuse lymphadenopathy.

Mother to child transmission of the parasite occurs when infection is acquired for the first time during pregnancy and the risk of transmission increases with gestational age at the time of maternal infection.

About one third of infected mothers give birth to an infant with toxoplasmosis.

During gestation Toxoplasmosis can cause congenital neurologic birth defects, spontaneous abortions and neonatal diseases.

Infection  during pregnancy,  may lead a congenital toxoplasmosis.

Up to 50% of people, 200,000 cases of congenital toxoplasmosis a year.

In a small number of people, eye problems may develop.

In immunosuppressed patients severe symptoms such as seizures and poor coordination may occur.

About one third of infected mothers give birth to an infant with toxoplasmosis.

Most children with congenital toxoplasmosis are developmentally normal, but up to 4% die or have permanent neurological or visual impairment during the first years of life.

Affects about 10-15% of patients with AIDS and they usually present with brain lesions.

Non-brain locations for toxoplasmosis infections include the eyes, lungs, bone marrow, heart and bladder.

In immunosuppressed patients severe symptoms such as seizures and poor coordination may occur.

Gastrointestinal toxoplasmosis represents fewer than 1% of cases.

Prevalence of extracerebral toxoplasmosis 1.5-2.0% in patients with AIDS.

Diagnosis is typically made by testing blood for antibodies or by testing the amniotic fluid in pregnant women for the parasite’s DNA.

Toxoplasmosis prevention occurs by properly preparing and cooking food.

Pregnant women are also recommended not to clean cat litter boxes, or use hygienic methods.

Treatment of otherwise healthy people is usually not required.

During pregnancy, spiramycin or pyrimethamine/sulfadiazine and folinic acid may be used for treatment.



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