Toxoplasmosis (cont.)

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What factors increase the risk of acquiring toxo?

The following situations potentially expose a person to the Toxoplasma parasite and increase the risk of acquiring toxoplasmosis:

  • Touching your hands to your mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat's litter box, or anything that came into contact with cat feces
  • Eating raw or partly cooked meat, especially pork, lamb, or venison
  • Using utensils or cutting boards that have not been properly cleaned after they have had contact with raw meat
  • Drinking raw goat's milk
  • Touching your hands to your mouth after contact with raw or undercooked meat
  • Organ transplantation or transfusion (this is rare)

If a woman is pregnant when she is infected with toxo, the infection can be transmitted to the baby with sometimes catastrophic consequences.

What are the usual symptoms of toxoplasmosis?

Although people infected with toxoplasmosis are often unaware of having this disease, typical symptoms of toxo are flulike symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes and muscle aches and pains that last from a few days to several weeks. If your immune system is normal, you cannot get the infection again.

Why do some people develop severe problems from toxo?

Few people with toxo develop symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. However, anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk for serious problems from toxo. These individuals include those undergoing chemotherapy, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune disorders, and recent organ-transplant recipients.

In these people, an infection that occurred anytime during life can reactivate and cause the severe symptoms of toxoplasmosis such as damage to the eye, brain, or other organs.

Ocular toxoplasmosis, which damages the eyes, can lead to reduced vision, blurred vision, pain (often with bright light), redness of the eye, and sometimes tearing, according to the CDC.


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Toxoplasmosis - Symptoms Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with toxoplasmosis? How was it diagnosed?
Toxoplasmosis - Pregnancy Question: What steps have you taken to avoid toxoplasmosis while pregnant?
Toxoplasmosis - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment did you receive for toxoplasmosis?

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