toxoplasmosis test is a blood test that checks for
antibodies to the Toxoplasma gondiiparasite. Your body's natural defense system (immune system) will make these antibodies only if you
have been infected by this tiny parasite. The amount and type of antibodies you
have shows whether your infection is recent or occurred in the past. More than
one blood test may be done over several weeks.
For most people,
toxoplasmosis is not dangerous and goes away on its own. But if a pregnant
woman becomes infected and passes it on to her growing baby (fetus), it can cause blindness and brain damage in the
You can become infected by eating food such as undercooked
or raw meat from an infected animal or by handling an infected cat or its stool
(feces). After you have been infected, you will have antibodies to
Toxoplasma gondii for the rest of your life, so you
cannot be infected again.
To see if your growing baby is
infected, the test can be done on a sample of the fluid that is around your
baby (amniotic fluid) taken during
Why It Is Done
A toxoplasmosis test is done to check if
- Pregnant woman has antibodies from a
toxoplasmosis infection. If she has the IgG type of antibody, that means an
infection occurred in the past and the baby does not have a chance of becoming
infected. If she has the IgM type of antibody, that means the infection is
recent and the baby does have a chance of becoming infected.
- Person with a weakened immune system, such as
someone who has
HIV, has a chance of getting a toxoplasmosis
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant and
have contact with a cat or clean a cat's litter box. Before your blood is
drawn, let your doctor know if you have bleeding or clotting problems, or if
you take blood-thinning medicine.
You do not need to do anything
else before you have this test.
How It Is Done
The health professional taking a sample
of your blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a