Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease of humans and animals that affects the nervous system, liver, spleen, cardiovascular system, and lymph nodes. The causative agent of the infection is Toxoplasma gondii. In the human population, it is dangerous for people with severely weakened immunity, as well as for pregnant women.
Toxoplasma live in the body of felines, are excreted out with feces. A person becomes infected when eating meat that has not undergone proper heat treatment or, more often, through dirty hands, stroking a cat. You can become infected with toxoplasmosis by eating lamb, pork and meat from other animals. However, contact-household infection is possible only from a cat. A sick person is also not contagious.
When a weakened person enters the body, toxoplasma spreads throughout the body, accumulating in tissues and organs, mainly muscle and nervous.
With a normal function of the immune system, infection with toxoplasmosis may not cause disease at all and may be asymptomatic. However, with reduced resistance, it may appear:
- slight rise in temperature
- lethargy, weakness, flabbiness
- enlargement of various groups of lymph nodes
- enlargement of the liver, rarely of the spleen
Toxoplasmosis is especially dangerous in pregnant women: in the early stages, infection with toxoplasmosis can lead to miscarriage, the birth of children with severe malformations. Infection in the later stages leads to the birth of children with widespread toxoplasmosis.
Congenital toxoplasmosis manifested by a rash on the body, damage to the brain (microcephaly, hydrocephalus), eyes (choreoretinitis), convulsions and deafness.
It is carried out without fail in the early stages of bearing a baby. It is advisable to undergo a diagnosis at the stage of pregnancy planning.
In addition, all women with infertility and a history of miscarriage, as well as all patients with fever of unknown origin and swollen lymph nodes, are subject to examination for toxoplasmosis.
Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is based on the detection of specific antibodies in the blood using an ELISA reaction (enzymatic immunoassay).
Prevention and treatment:
To prevent toxoplasmosis, you must carefully observe the rules of personal hygiene. Do not eat undercooked or cooked meat.
All pregnant women should be diagnosed for toxoplasmosis as early as possible. And in case of illness, the question of termination of pregnancy is raised. Contact of pregnant women with cats should be limited as much as possible.
For the treatment of acute toxoplasmosis, antimalarial drugs are used in combination with sulfonamides and antibiotics. With the development of chronic forms, desensitizing therapy, immunomodulators, and vitamins are used.
Treatment of chronic forms of toxoplasmosis is longer and more difficult.