One of the most common infectious diseases, toxoplasmosis results from the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii. Distributed worldwide, it’s less common in cold or hot, arid climates and at high
elevations. It usually causes localized infection but may produce significant generalized infection, especially in immunodeficient patients or neonates.

Congenital toxoplasmosis, characterized by lesions in the central nervous system, may result in stillbirth or serious birth defects.


T. gondii exists in trophozoite forms in the acute stages of infection and in cystic forms (tissue cysts and oocysts) in the latent stages. Ingestion of tissue cysts in raw or undercooked meat (heating, drying, or freezing destroys these cysts) or fecal-oral contamination from infected cats transmits toxoplasmosis. (See Avoiding toxoplasmosis.)

Congenital toxoplasmosis follows transplacental transmission from a chronically infected mother or one who acquired toxoplasmosis shortly before or during pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms

The following signs and symptoms characterize congenital toxoplasmosis and acquired toxoplasmosis.

Congenital toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis acquired in the first trimester of pregnancy often results in stillbirth. About one-third of neonates who survive have congenital toxoplasmosis. The later in pregnancy maternal infection occurs, the greater the risk of congenital infection in the neonate.

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Jun 16, 2016 | Posted by in GENERAL & FAMILY MEDICINE | Comments Off on Toxoplasmosis
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