Accidentally swallowing Toxoplasma gondii eggs from soil or other contaminated
surfaces. This can happen by putting your hands to your mouth after gardening,
cleaning a cat's litter box, or touching anything that has come into contact
with cat feces.
Eating raw or partly cooked meat, especially pork,
lamb, or venison, or touching your hands to your mouth after touching the
If you are pregnant when first infected with
Toxoplasma gondii, you can give the infection to your
You may also receive it through an organ transplantation or
a transfusion, although this is rare.
What are the symptoms?
Most people with
toxoplasmosis don't have symptoms. When symptoms are present, they are often
flu-like and may include swollen
lymph glands or muscle aches and pains that last for a
few days to several weeks.
Severe toxoplasmosis results in damage to the eyes or
the brain. Infants who became infected before birth may be born with serious
mental or physical problems.
Because there are
typically no symptoms, it is hard to know whether you are infected. If you
think that you may have toxoplasmosis, talk to your doctor. He or
she may do specific blood tests for toxoplasmosis.
If you have an impaired immune system, get
the blood test for Toxoplasma gondii. If your test is
positive, it means that you have been infected at some time in your life. Your doctor can tell you if and when you need to take medicine to
prevent the infection from reactivating. If your test is negative, you have not
been infected, and you can take precautions to avoid infection.
you are planning to become pregnant, consider being tested for Toxoplasma gondii. If the test is positive, it means you have
already been infected at some time in your life and you probably don't have to
worry about passing the infection to your future baby (discuss this with your
doctor). If the test is negative, take precautions to
If you are pregnant, you and your doctor should discuss your risk of toxoplasmosis. Your doctor may order a blood sample for testing.