Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Pediatric Health Library
Translate
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Topic IndexLibrary Index
Click a letter to see a list of conditions beginning with that letter.
Click 'Topic Index' to return to the index for the current topic.
Click 'Library Index' to return to the listing of all topics.

Toxoplasmosis

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Although many people may have toxoplasma infection, very few have symptoms because the immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness. Babies who became infected before birth can be born with serious mental or physical problems.

Toxoplasmosis often causes flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, or muscle aches and pains that last for a few days to several weeks. Mothers can be tested to determine if they have developed an antibody to the illness. Fetal testing may include ultrasound, and testing of amniotic fluid or cord blood. Treatment may include antibiotics.

Preventing toxoplasmosis

The CDC recommends the following measures to help prevent toxoplasmosis infection:

  • Wear gloves when you garden or do anything outdoors that involves handling soil. Cats, who may pass the parasite in their feces, often use gardens and sandboxes as litter boxes. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water after outdoor activities, especially before you eat or prepare any food.

  • Have someone who is healthy and not pregnant change your cat's litter box. If this is not possible, wear gloves and clean the litter box daily (the parasite found in cat feces can only infect you a few days after being passed). Wash your hands well with soap and warm water afterward.

  • Have someone who is healthy and not pregnant handle raw meat for you. If this is not possible, wear clean latex gloves when you touch raw meat. Wash any cutting boards, sinks, knives, and other utensils that might have touched the raw meat. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water afterward.

  • Cook all meat thoroughly, that is, until it is no longer pink in the center or until the juices run clear. Do not sample meat before it is fully cooked.

Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 6/21/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered By Krames StayWell
Copyright © Krames StayWell except where otherwise noted.
About Us
  • Follow Us On:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Health Hub
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • RSS
  •  
  • Bookmark and Share
© Brigham and Women's Hospital | 75 Francis Street, Boston MA 02115 | 617-732-5500