Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can get into your body if you eat raw or undercooked meat.
You can also get this infection by accidentally swallowing soil or eating fruit or uncooked vegetables contaminated with cat poo from a cat infected with toxoplasmosis.
Children and adults with weak immune systems are most at risk of toxoplasmosis.
Most children and adults who have toxoplasmosis have no symptoms at all.
Sometimes your child might have a swollen lymph gland, most commonly in the neck. Sometimes an infected person will have fatigue and muscle aches.
In teenagers, toxoplasmosis can cause chorioretinitis. This is a rare condition that results in blurred vision and dark, floating spots in front of your child's eyes.
Should you see a doctor about toxoplasmosis?
You should take your child to your GP if:
- your child has unexplained swelling of her glands, especially in her neck
- your child has unexplained headaches or fever
- your teenage child has blurred vision and dark floating spots in her vision
- you're worried about your child's health.
If your child has a weakened immune system and has the symptoms described above, be sure to take your child to the doctor.
See your doctor immediately if you're pregnant and you think you might be infected. Toxoplasmosis can cause serious problems for your unborn baby.
Toxoplasmosis treatment depends on how bad the symptoms are.
If your child has no symptoms or is only mildly affected, he won't need treatment. For more severe symptoms, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
Prevention of toxoplasmosis
You can reduce the risk of getting toxoplasmosis by avoiding raw or undercooked meat and washing fruit and raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
Wash your hands thoroughly after any outdoor activity involving contact with soil.
Wearing gloves while changing cat litter trays or when gardening can also help you avoid toxoplasmosis.