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Toxoplasmosis

Authors
Journal
Seminars in Perinatology
0146-0005
Publisher
Elsevier - WB Saunders
Publication Date
Volume
22
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0146-0005(98)80022-0
Disciplines
  • Medicine

Abstract

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoan organism, Toxoplasma gondii. Infection with this organism primarily results from contact with infected cats and from ingestion of improperly cooked meat. Most adults with toxoplasmosis are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present, they typically resemble a mononucleosis or flulike illness. The diagnosis of toxoplasmosis in the pregnant adult is best made using serological techniques to detect IgM antibody and to document significant changes in the IgG antibody titer. Congenital toxoplasmosis usually occurs as a result of primary maternal infection. The most useful tests for confirmation of fetal infection are ultrasound examination, cordocentesis for detection of IgM-specific antibody, and amniocentesis for detection of toxoplasma DNA in amniotic fluid. Congenital toxoplasmosis can be treated with reasonable success by administration of antibiotics (spiramycin, sulfadiazine, and pyrimethamine) to the mother. In an effort to prevent acquisition of infection, pregnant women should be counseled to avoid contact with cat litter and improperly cooked beef, pork, or lamb.

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