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Toxoplasmosis - Definition


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection transmitted by animals caused by Toxoplasma gondii. In the large majority of cases, toxoplasmosis is harmless and at worst responsible for a banal transitory infection. Yet it can present a significant risk for immunocompromised people, and for the fetus in pregnant women. For immunocompromised individuals, and especially for those with AIDS, severe forms of toxoplasmosis can occur, notably cerebral toxoplasmosis. This form manifests by fever and neurological signs, such as motor and sensory impairment, paralysis, episodes of sudden, abrupt movement similar to epileptic fits, and other. When the disease is transmitted to the fetus from the mother it can cause malformations, in which case it is called congenital toxoplasmosis. In order to avoid contracting this infection when pregnant or immunocompromised, individuals in these contexts are advised to avoid uncooked meat, to thoroughly wash and peel fruit and vegetables, and to wash their hands regularly, especially after holding the aforementioned foods posing risk, as well as to avoid contact with cats or litter trays.