Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by such a parasite as toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is found all over the world. Very often people that are infected do not have any symptoms. It can be explained by the fact that the immune system of a healthy person always tries to prevent the illness. Nevertheless, those people with suppressed immune system and pregnant women should be very careful. The condition may cause a number of health problems with these people.
It is possible to get toxoplasmosis in different ways. First of all, it is possible if you accidentally swallow feces of the infected cat. It can happen while you are gardening, cleaning the little box of your cat or while touching anything that has been in contact with the cat's feces. You can get toxoplasmosis if you eat partly cooked or raw meat, such as pork, venison or lamb. Don't touch your mouth after handling the meat that is undercooked.
It is possible to contaminate food with the knives, cutting boards and other utensils that have been in contact with raw meat. The water, which is contaminated with toxoplasma, is also dangerous. The infection may be transmitted through blood transfusion and an organ transplant, which is infected.
It is important to note that most people who get toxoplasmosis do not know it because they have no symptoms. Sometimes people with the infection are sure that they have a common flu because they have such symptoms as muscle pains and aches, swollen lymph glands. These symptoms may last for a month or even more.
Severe forms of toxoplasmosis are dangerous because they may cause damage to the eyes, brain and other organs. As a rule it happens with those whose immune system is suppressed. Nevertheless, it often happens that people with healthy immune system have eye damage after toxoplasmosis.
There are cases when the children in the womb get infected with toxoplasmosis. Traditionally they have no symptoms when they are born. Nevertheless, the symptoms appear in the further life of the child. Moreover very few people have some brain or damage at birth. These conditions develop later.
Speaking about toxoplasmosis treatment and risk, first it is necessary to mention those people who are at risk of developing severe toxoplasmosis. Firstly, it is children who are born by the women who are ill with toxoplasmosis for the first time or who got infected right before their pregnancy. Secondly, it is people with suppressed immune system, including those with AIDS/HIV, those who take some types of chemotherapy and those who have recently got organ transplants.
If you are going to become pregnant, it is necessary to test for toxoplasma. If the test is positive, it means you have already been infected before. But the infection rarely passes to the baby of the infected woman. If the test is negative, all you can do is to take certain precautions to avoid the disease.
If you are pregnant it is necessary to consult your doctor and to discuss your risk of getting the disease. It is also possible to order a blood sample for testing.