Toxoplasmosis is an illness caused by the coccidian protozoan Toxoplasma gondii and cats are the primary reservoir. T. gondii transmission in the United States is primarily foodborne, through handling or consumption of undercooked pork, lamb, or venison containing bradyzoites, the microscopic tissue cyst form of the parasite. People also can be infected through direct contact with cat feces that contains Toxoplasma oocysts or though consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with oocysts.
In 2018, 15 cases were reported (14 confirmed and 1 probable), an increase over the 9 reported in 2017, and 7 reported in 2016. Eight cases had immunocompromising conditions. Seven cases were diagnosed with ocular toxoplasmosis, 3 with generalized toxoplasmosis, 4 with cerebral toxoplasmosis, and 1 unknown type. There were no pregnant cases. The median age of cases was 53 years (range, 20 to 83 years). Eleven cases (73%) were male. Nine cases were white, 1 was black, and 5 were of unknown race; 9 cases were non- Hispanic, while 1 was Hispanic, and 5 were of unknown ethnicity. Three of the confirmed cases and the probable case were associated with an outbreak, in which a large family group were infected after consuming undercooked venison on their annual hunting trip. A sample of their venison tested positive for Toxoplasma.
- For up to date information see>> Toxoplasmosis
- Full issue>> Annual Summary of Communicable Diseases Reported to the Minnesota Department of Health, 2018