Toxoplasmosis: cat, pregnancy, symptoms... what is it?

Toxoplasmosis: cat, pregnancy, symptoms… what is it?

A third of the population is infected: toxoplasmosis is a disease transmitted by a parasite, particularly through cats, and carries serious risks for pregnant women. Update on this infection.

Disease transmitted by cats, contaminated meat or dairy, how to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis? What are the symptoms? Toxoplasmosis is a potentially serious, especially for a pregnant woman, your fetus and newborn. Therefore, if a pregnant woman lives in a country where cats are widespread, it is essential to take precautions during her pregnancy to avoid any risk.

Infection, symptoms, risks and available treatments, find out everything you need to know about toxoplasmosis.

Definition: What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused byparasite infection, the Toxoplasma gondii protozoan that “manipulates our brain” according to the CNRS magazine. Most often benign, it is transmitted to humans by domestic animals, especially cats, or by ingestion of raw meat. It is estimated that a third of the world’s population is infected.

Toxoplasmosis carries serious risks only for pregnant women and patients with weakened immune systems, such as people with AIDS or those receiving chemotherapy. However, the discovery that the disease suppresses the rat’s instinctive fear of the cat would lead some researchers to think that Toxoplasma gondii could be related in humans to certain psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression.

In addition, a study published in January 2021 in the International Journal of Cancer reports that this parasite would increase the risk of glioma in adults, a form of malignant brain tumor. ” This does not mean that T. gondii definitely causes a all situations “However, said epidemiologist James Hodge, before continuing:” Some people with glioma do not have antibodies against T. gondii and vice versa. »

Few symptoms of toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is in most cases asymptomatic. The immune defense system prevents the disease from manifesting itself. However, some people may experience nonspecific symptoms, similar to those of the flu or mononucleosis:

  • prolonged state of fatigue
  • Inflamed glands
  • headache
  • moderate fever
  • rash all over the body
  • joint and muscle pain

These symptoms gradually regress over time.

Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy: the risk of infection in pregnant women

Toxoplasmosis is dangerous in pregnancy. There is no risk to the pregnant woman, but the disease can be transmitted to the fetus and lead to serious consequences. About one child in every 1,000 is thought to be born with congenital toxoplasmosis.

Early in pregnancy, a serological test It is done from a blood test to determine if you have previously contracted toxoplasmosis. In this case, the pregnant woman is immune to the disease. In case of a negative test, it is necessary to monthly monitoring during pregnancy.

Minimal risk of transmission of toxoplasmosis during the first 16 weeks of pregnancy (about 5%), but this is where the infection is most serious: death in the wombmalformations, psychomotor disorders… After week 16 the risk of transmission is greater (90% at the end of pregnancy) but the repercussions on the fetus are much less serious.

Prevention of toxoplasmosis

To avoid contracting toxoplasmosis, it is recommended that pregnant women take certain precautions to avoid coming into contact with the parasite. First of all, don’t do especially don’t touch cat feces. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid being careful when changing the sand and coming into contact with it, unless you are equipped with gloves.

Measures of dietary precaution must also take. Therefore, it is advisable to always carefully wash fruits and vegetables in contact with the ground. Since the disease can be transmitted by eating raw meat, care must be taken to cook the meat thoroughly.

Toxoplasmosis Treatment

In most cases, in people with normal immune defenses, toxoplasmosis does not require any treatment. Medicines to treat the infection are used to treat severe cases or prevent complications in people at risk. pyrimethamine (also used to treat malaria), sulfadiazine Y spiramycin are the main drugs used.

Pregnant women infected with toxoplasmosis for the first time can be treated to reduce the risk that the child will also be infected. But we still do not fully know its effectiveness.

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