What is Toxoplasmosis?

Written by: Amicis

Apa Itu Toksoplasma dan Efeknya Bagi Ibu?

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan toxoplasma gondii, which can be transmitted by cats. Toxoplasmosis in the form of tachyzoites is typically found in bodily fluids such as blood, saliva and semen, which can be transmitted through insect bites. Tachyzoites can be lodged in prospective ovum or milk glands so either the ovum or the breast milk may be infected with toxoplasma. The transmission can also occur through blood transfusions or organ transplants carrying toxoplasma cysts. Heart, kidney, and liver transplant can become a means of transmission of toxoplasma.   

Basically, humans are immune against the toxoplasmosis infection. Although infected (bacteria get into the body), it does not cause disease symptoms. If the body is strong, then the parasite will be quiet and does not cause symptoms. Cysts will cause symptoms if the condition of the body is weak, decreased immunity, malnutrition, and in a state of stress. Tissue cysts in the body can damage organs.

Based on certain studies, if pregnant women are infected with toxoplasmosis, there is 40% possibility of having an infected baby, and the second with 17% possibility of miscarriage or pre-term birth. About 90% of infants will be born normally but likely to suffer from impaired vision or even worse, blindness, after a few months or years after birth. Another possibility with a percentage of 10% of infants will suffer from hearing loss.

Preventive measures : 

  • Conduct an examination of your pet at home, such as cats, birds, fish, rabbits and dogs to see if they have an active infection or not.
  • Ask someone to clean cages and litter. If you must do it yourself, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Use gloves when gardening. Don’t do gardening on the soil exposed to cat’s feces. 
  • Wash fruits and vegetables, especially from our garden with dishwashing detergent. 
  • Don’t eat raw meat or undercooked meat or unpasteurized milk. If you eat in a restaurant, order the well-done meat. 
  • The thermometer of the cooked or boiled meat must show 70º C.
  • If you are pregnant, conduct a routine check-up to avoid and anticipate the toxoplasmosis infection.