Toxoplasmosis (cont.)

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Can toxoplasmosis develop into a more serious illness in babies?

Yes, the immune system in infants is not fully mature until after birth. Congenital toxoplasmosis occurs when a fetus is infected.

The babies of women who were exposed to toxo within a few months of becoming pregnant or during pregnancy are at an increased risk for developing a severe case of toxo. Pregnant women who newly contract the toxoplasmosis parasite have a 20% chance of transmitting it to their unborn child, according to the Organization of Teratology Specialists. When the mother is infected in the first trimester, there is a 10%-15% chance of passing the parasite on to her child. In the U.S., it is estimated that up to 4,000 babies are born with toxoplasmosis annually. Women who were first exposed to toxo more than six months before becoming pregnant are not likely to pass the infection to their children.

Most newborns have no symptoms, but a small percentage may be born with congenital eye or brain damage. Unfortunately, the signs and symptoms of the disease often appear a few months after birth.

Some signs of toxoplasmosis may be present at birth, such as jaundice, skin rash, and enlarged lymph nodes.

What is meant by a baby developing "a more severe case of toxo"?

Children born with toxoplasmosis can be afflicted with mental retardation, convulsions, spasticity, cerebral palsy, deafness, and severely impaired vision. The infant's head may be abnormally small (microcephaly) or abnormally large due to increased pressure on the brain (hydrocephalus).

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Toxoplasmosis - Symptoms Question: What symptoms and signs did you experience with toxoplasmosis? How was it diagnosed?
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