• congenital toxoplasmosis causes chorioretinitis, fever, jaundice, rash, and brain damage

DIAGNOSIS

  • based on clinical signs, as well as on demonstration of the organism in body tissues or fluids

INFECTIOUS AGENT

  • Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite

  • cats and other felines are reservoirs

  • intermediate hosts are sheep, goats, rodents, swine, cattle, chicken, and birds

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

  • ingestion of oocysts (on fingers or in food contaminated with cat feces) or cysts in raw or undercooked meat

  • transplacental transmission

  • transmission through blood transfusion and tissue transplantations has been reported

  • not directly transmitted from person to person (except in utero)

DISTRIBUTION

  • worldwide

  • prevalence of seropositivity is higher in warm, humid climates and is influenced by presence of cats and by eating habits

INCUBATION PERIOD

  • 1 to 3 weeks

TREATMENT

  • antiparasitic agents (pyrimethamine plus sulfadiazine) for persons with severe disease

  • no treatment is needed for most healthy, immunocompetent hosts

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

  • thorough cooking of meats

  • daily disposal of cat feces and disinfection of litter pans (pregnant women should avoid contact with litter pans)

  • thorough hand washing after handling of raw meat

  • prophylactic treatment for patients with HIV disease

FACTORS FACILITATING EMERGENCE

  • immunosuppression

  • increase in cats as pets



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