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.

On this page:
Fact Sheet
Symptoms
Duration of Illness
Complications
Transmission
Diagnosis

Fact Sheets

 

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • swollen glands
  • muscle aches and pain
  • tiredness

Many people will have no recognizable symptoms.

Symptoms usually begin within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.

Duration of Illness

  • Toxoplasmosis infections usually resolve in 2-4 weeks.

Complications

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.

Transmission

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.

Diagnosis

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.

 

Updated Wednesday, 17-Nov-2010 11:52:01 CST