What is toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases in the world, and it is caused by a parasite called “Toxoplasma gondii”, which is usually found in contaminated food, drink or objects and in the feces of cats.
Important: An article published in the biomedical journals ofMedigraphic, explains that this parasite infects several tissues of the body, including skeletal muscle, intestine and nervous system, and can manifest itself in humans or warm-blooded species. (1)
How does toxoplasmosis occur?
It is important to know the main causes of toxoplasmosis, in order to take measures and prevent it, which is why the following causes are mentioned below in a clear and simple way:
1. Contaminated food and water
In most cases, the main causes of toxoplasmosis are drinking infected water and consuming contaminated food. This may be due to poor hygiene habits such as not washing fruits and vegetables, eating raw or undercooked meat, and drinking undrinkable water.
Note: An article published on foodborne diseases from Medigraphic , explains that those who are contaminated have a great burden of disease in the world, being responsible for viruses and parasitic diseases. (two)
2. Contact with cat feces
Contact with cat feces turns out to be one of the most common causes of toxoplasmosis in people, because their defecations accumulate spores of t gondii, this being the microscopic agent that causes the disease.
A study carried out by the National Institute for Safety and Hygiene at Work in Spain explains that Toxoplasma gondii is is released in the feces of cats after a life cycle, and that it is easy to multiply and infect other animals and humans. (3)
Tip: It is recommended to wash your hands after handling the cat, cleaning its excrement, or touching places that they frequently use for their needs; to reduce the risk of suffering from this pathology.
3. Contaminated utensils
As mentioned before, toxoplasmosis can be caused by objects that are contaminated and contain T. gondii spores , therefore, these are part of the main causes of this disease.
That is why good hygiene in kitchens and food turns out to be so important, since it is by these means that a person can easily become infected, because it is a parasite that has a microscopic size.
4. Transplantation of infected organs and blood transfusion
Another of the prominent causes of toxoplasmosis are organ transplants and infected blood transfusions , since these may contain t gondii spores, thus facilitating their migration to a new person.
Note: This parasite turns out to be quite resistant and easy to multiply in the blood, which is why Medical Attention must establish preventive measures in a timely manner, in order to reduce the potential risk of diseases in the recipient.
5. Transplacental transmission
When a pregnant woman is infected with the T Gondii parasite , it is called “congenital toxoplasmosis”, because the disease can be easily transmitted to the fetus , causing delivery before the time indicated by doctors.
Similarly, transplacental transmission can cause serious damage to the baby’s eyes, skin, ears or nervous system, especially when pregnant women are infected within the first 26 weeks, where it carries greater risks.
What are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis?
A toxoplasmosis infection can cause a series of symptoms that are harmful to the person, in which they will be forced to seek medical attention quickly due to the pain, which is why we must be attentive to the following signs:
1. Body pain
Body pain turns out to be one of the first symptoms of toxoplasmosis , which includes mild to intense pain in the muscles in general, even involving the ligaments, tendons and fascias of people affected by the disease.
Note: Presenting body pain in general, can become a very serious symptom,because this prevents work in the office or home. The best recommendations is to seek medical attention and rest enough time.
2. Fever and tiredness
Fever and tiredness are also common symptoms in toxoplasmosis, due to the response that the body is giving to the infection, increasing body temperature above 38°C to fight the disease.
A person infected with toxoplasmosis disease usually weakens easily and quickly , since fatigue and fever keep them in limited physical condition, directly interfering with normal daily activities.
3. Swollen lymph nodes
The lymph nodes are generally inflamed when there is an infection by bacteria, viruses or parasites in the body, this being their normal response when they are fighting infections, causing their sensitivity, swelling or pain.
Note: A study carried out by the Association for Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia in Spain explains that the lymph nodes increase in size due to the increase in white blood cells to combat any infection that is developing in the body. (4)
4. Lung and visual problems
A toxoplasmosis infection can cause serious lung problems, where a persistent dry cough, moderate chest pain, and even difficulty breathing properly at any time are most notorious.
In the same way, this pathology affects people’s vision, generating ocular toxoplasmosis, in which it manifests as retinitis due to the replication of the parasite, thus giving symptoms of blurred vision or loss of vision, and difficulty seeing in dim light.
Another of the symptoms that this disease can cause are seizures, where you react electrically and suddenly in an involuntary way, even affecting your behaviors, movements or feelings.
Important: A study related to seizures defines them as causing abnormal activity in the brain for a short period of time, causing sudden changes in consciousness, movements and behaviors, which generally occurs in children. (5)
Finally, jaundice is part of the symptoms caused by toxoplasmosis, which consists of a change in the color of the skin or sclera of the eyes, towards a more yellowish tone, due to the accumulation of bilirubin in the body.
To highlight: To cure jaundice caused by toxoplasmosis, medical attention should be sought, since the only way to cure it is to treat its cause, because there is no specific way to make it disappear.
What is the treatment for toxoplasmosis?
Due to the seriousness that toxoplasmosis can cause, a standard health treatment for this disease must be known, in order to minimize its symptoms as quickly as possible and strengthen the immune system, being theuse of certain drugsthe most used on these occasions.
In toxoplasmosis treatments, pyrimethamine is generally prescribed in conjunction with sulfadiazine , since these help control the rapid replication of the parasite, but even so they are not fully responsible for eliminating them in the body.
Important: In the case of pregnant women, they should seek medical attention , since the medical procedure may vary, depending on the time in which the infection occurred, in order to avoid congenital toxoplasmosis, for which the doctor must seek a method optimum as the case may be.
- Toxoplasmosis is one of the Most common diseases in the world , since it is easily transmitted by the parasite “Toxoplasma gondii” , causing the infection.
- Its causes are contact with cat excrement, eating raw or undercooked meat, drinking infected water or using infected utensils.
- The most common symptoms are body aches, fever, tiredness and swollen glands.
- Similarly, jaundice and seizures are part of the effects of toxoplasmosis, although these are involuntary, so medical attention should be sought quickly.
- It does not have a specific treatment, but it is usually treated with drugs to control the replication of the parasite and strengthen the immune system.
University Professional in the area of Human Resources, Postgraduate in Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Work Environment, 14 years of experience in the area of health. Interested in topics of Psychology, Occupational Health, and General Medicine.