Causes and Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is found everywhere in our environment and many people carry it in their bodies but may not know because they have no symptoms.
Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have serious illness due to toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn baby if they become infected for the first time during or just before pregnancy.
An Important Message (PDF: 582KB/2 pages)
MDH two-color brochure that answers common questions about Toxoplasmosis.
MDH fact sheet that answers some common questions about Toxoplasmosis.
CDC fact sheet on Toxoplasmosis. Attention: Non-MDH link
- swollen glands
- muscle aches and pain
Many people will have no recognizable symptoms.
Symptoms usually begin within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.
- Toxoplasmosis infections usually resolve in 2-4 weeks.
Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have serious illness due to toxoplasmosis.
Pregnant women can pass the infection to their unborn baby if they become infected for the first time during or just before pregnancy.
Cats are important in the spread of toxoplasmosis because they can shed the parasite in their feces. People can get toxoplasmosis by accidentally ingesting contaminated cat feces, this can occur if you accidentally touch your hands to your mouth after gardening or cleaning a cat’s litter box.
People can also get toxoplasmosis by eating or handling raw or undercooked pork, lamb or venison, eating unwashed fruits and vegetables grown in soil contaminated with cat feces, drinking contaminated water, or rarely from a blood transfusion or infected organ transplant.
Your health care provider may do a blood test to check for antibodies to toxoplasma if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system.
Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit Reporting Suspected Foodborne Illnesses.