Toxoplasmosis is a life-threatening disease and even contributes to several defects if the mother is infected. This is the reason doctors advise pregnant women not to scoop and clean their cat’s litter.
The parasite causes toxoplasmosis infection, and this parasite type is known as Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is commonly found in uncooked meat and cat feces.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50 million Americans have been infected with this parasite. People with compromised immune systems can develop severe health complications if they are infected with toxoplasmosis.
How is Toxoplasmosis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you to take the best online blood test to detect the antibodies produced in the blood in response to this parasite infection.
An antibody is a protein that our immune system produces whenever there is a threat of harmful foreign substances in the body. If the test comes out to be positive, the doctor will further consider ELISA kits, which are more sensitive and precise.
For a pregnant woman, the doctor will test the amniotic fluid and the fetus’ blood to determine whether the baby is also infected. If the baby is infected, then the patient will be referred to a specialist known as a genetic consultant to understand the risks involved.
You either have the option of ending your pregnancy or taking necessary medicines and antibodies to reduce the effect to to a certain extent.
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
The majority of people infected with toxoplasmosis show no symptoms whatsoever. However, people those experience symptoms include:-
- Sore Throat
- Swollen Lymph
- Muscles Aches and Pains
These symptoms last for a month or even more, and go away on their own.
Toxoplasmosis can be deadly for those with a weakened immune system. For those people, there is a risk of developing health complications such as:-
- Brain inflammation
- Eye infection
- Lung infection
When the fetus is infected, then symptoms are quite serious. Babies born with Toxoplasmosis will appear normal and healthy but develop symptoms and problems as they age.
Causes of Toxoplasmosis
- gondii is the parasite type responsible for causing Toxoplasmosis. You may get infected when you consume uncooked or come in contact with the parasite dwelling in raw meat. Drinking contaminated water can also cause a Toxoplasmosis infection.
The T. gondii parasite is quite common in feces. It can be caused by unwashed produce, which has been contaminated with manure. Hand hygiene is essential in preventing Toxoplasmosis disease.
Cats act as a host to the Toxoplasmosis infection, so be careful while cleaning your cat litter, use hand gloves, wear face masks, and sanitize your hands properly. In general, the domestic cats are the unlikely host for this disease, compared to the cats that reside in the outside world.
In the United States of America, unwashed fruits and vegetables and raw meat is the leading way to get infected with Toxoplasmosis.
How is Toxoplasmosis Treated?
Your doctor may recommend you not take any treatment if you’re not showing any signs & symptoms of infection. Most people don’t develop symptoms, while others have mild symptoms that can be managed with medicines.
However, if the disease has affected you, then doctors may prescribe their patient to take pyrimethamine (Daraprim) and sulfadiazine antibiotics. If you have HIV, then you are required to take this medicine for your entire life.
Treatment during pregnancy is different; it depends on whether the fetus is infected and its severity. Your doctor most likely advises you medicines to prevent the transmission of this disease to the fetus. Spiramycin, an antibiotic, is prescribed for pregnant women in their first and second trimesters. A convention of pyrimethamine/sulfadiazine and leucovorin during the third trimesters.
You can prevent Toxoplasmosis by washing all-natural produce before you consume it. Ensure that meat is thoroughly cooked, wash all utensils that handle the raw meat, and wash your hands after cleaning the cat litter.