Taxoplasmosis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. This infection usually passes from animals to humans. The disease can affect the brain, lung, heart, eyes, or liver.
What causes toxoplasmosis?
Mostly, toxoplasmosis is caused by eating raw or undercooked infected meat, eating unwashed contaminated produce, or drinking contaminated water. It is also caused by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes after handling contaminated soil, cat litter, or meat.
Toxoplasmosis also affects people who have weakened immune systems.
This infection may also result from blood transfusions or solid organ transplants.
This infection may also be passed from an infected mother to her baby through the placenta. This results in congenital toxoplasmosis.
What are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis?
There may be no symptoms in an affected person. If symptoms occur, they usually appear about 1 to 2 weeks after contact with the parasite. The symptoms, when they occur, are different in people with the healthy immune system and weak immune system.
The following symptoms may occur in persons with healthy immune systems:
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck
- Mild illness similar to mononucleosis
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
The following symptoms may occur in people with a weakened immune system:
- Blurred vision due to inflammation of the retina
How is toxoplasmosis diagnosed?
The doctor will perform a physical exam and review the symptoms.
The following tests may be done for diagnosis:
- Antibody titers for toxoplasmosis
- CT scan of the head
- MRI of head
- Slit lamp exam of the eyes
- Brain biopsy
How is toxoplasmosis treated?
Usually, treatment is not needed for persons without symptoms.
When there are symptoms, the doctor may prescribe antimalarial medicines and antibiotics. The doctor may recommend people with AIDS to continue treatment for as long as their immune system is weak. This will prevent the disease from reactivating.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.