Risks of Toxoplasmosis: Cats and Pregnancy

The Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease of humans and animals. The final host (i.e. the organism in which the parasite can reproduce) is the cat, the intermediate hosts of the parasite — numerous birds and animals, and people.

In humans, the disease in most cases, asymptomatic or manifested such non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, slight fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes (most commonly cervical and occipital). However, such phenomena can be symptoms of the common cold, so in most cases, toxoplasmosis infection is undetected, and the man does not even suspect that had this disease.

In severe cases, the disease is accompanied by fever, joint and muscle aches and a spotted rash. The most dangerous lesions toxoplasmosis of the nervous system (the development of meningoencephalitis). The acute form of toxoplasmosis occurs most often in people with immunodeficiency (e.g., HIV infection).

If the cat is first infected with toxoplasmosis, she can enlarged lymph nodes in acute form there may be discharge from the nose, redness of the eyes, intermittent diarrhea. However, in most cases in cats toxoplasmosis is also asymptomatic.

Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy

About the dangers of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women many people have heard. Hence the advice to throw a cat from the house, and the panic from any scratches. However, not all so is terrible.

Risk to the fetus represents only primary infection of the mother with toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. That is, if you have been ill a long time ago, on a fruit it will not have any impact. Thus even at primary infection the risk of fetal infection is not 100%. In the first trimester the risk of infection when maternal disease is 15-20%, second 30%, third at 60%. However, despite the fact that the risk of infection with a pregnancy increases, the severity of clinical manifestations decreases.

When infected in the first trimester in most cases, the child has malformations incompatible with life, and when infected in late pregnancy marked clinical symptoms may be absent at all. In case if the infection occurred before 24 weeks recommended abortion. If a woman refuses to him, it is possible to conduct the treatment.

After the disease in humans produces immunity, therefore, re-encounter with the parasite not afraid of him.

After primary infection with toxoplasmosis to plan pregnancy in six months.

What is toxoplasmosis infection

Human infection occurs either by eating the meat of infected animals or in contact with the human body feces of infected cats (often with street dust or soil).

According to some sources 25% meat products infected with toxoplasmosis, most often it is found in lamb, pork and venison. With careful heat treatment, the parasite dies, and infection does not occur.

From cats are people often infected by the fecal-oral route, that is, by eating foods contaminated with cat feces, inhaling particles of these faeces when cleaning the kitty litter, children often become infected through toys, has interacted with the cat, or in the yard in the sandbox. In addition, infection can occur by ingestion of the pathogen on damaged skin or mucous membranes (through the intact skin parasite in the body does not penetrate). If the cat will scratch you, you may also experience infection, as the cat doesn’t always wash his paws after using the toilet.

In General, sadly, cat feces with Toxoplasma around us, and to protect themselves from the disease is extremely difficult. But this has its advantages: the majority of women even before pregnancy, in the latent form have had toxoplasmosis, you are immune, and now, even in anticipation of the baby, no cats they are not afraid.

It should be noted that fresh feces is not contagious. To acquire the ability to infection, the pathogen must maturation in the external environment. So fresh cat faeces do not pose danger. If you clean the litter box immediately and wash clean with soap and water (not just shake kakashechka in the toilet), this way you will not get sick.

The cat is infected with toxoplasmosis by eating infected mice and birds, raw pork or lamb kindly offered by the host. Veterinarians believe that toxoplasmosis infected the majority of cats that ever walked on the street. The main source and distributor of toxoplasmosis are cats that walk by themselves, eating rats and shitting in children’s sandboxes and gardens. This is the kind of walking and our decent home cats can be infected (for example, eating the grass, near which a “bad” cat staged a toilet).

Infectious are the only cats infected with toxoplasmosis during the last three weeks. But it is worth remembering that the cat for some time might be contagious, and with each new infection. However, in defense of cats I want to say that directly from an infected animal, the infection is rare. The main source is still not roasted meat and street dust. In contact with cat feces into the environment, the pathogen remains active up to two years.

Infected people may from the dog, because the dog goes every day in the street, maybe there is any muck from the ground and then lick the owner, to bring home the toxoplasmosis on feet or fur. Like people, a dog can get sick with toxoplasmosis, as is also the intermediate host of the parasite. Many veterinarians believe that dogs a person infected no less than from cats.

Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis

When planning a pregnancy it is important for the physician not only to determine the presence of infection in the body, but also to determine whether it is fresh or old. For this blood define immunoglobulin M and G (IgM and IgG).

If defined IgM and IgG no, this is the most unfavorable situation, as it suggests that the infection occurred recently.

If there are IgM, and IgG means that the infection occurred during the year (in this case, it is recommended to repeat the test in 3 weeks. The increase in IgG indicates an acute process).

The most common situation — there is IgG, not IgM. This suggests that in the past there had been contact with infection currently, it doesn’t constitute danger, because you have immunity.

If immunoglobulins are not detected at all, then you have no immunity to toxoplasmosis and should observe all precautions to avoid it during pregnancy.

For the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is sometimes assigned to PCR the blood. Diagnosis by PCR is accurate enough, but its drawback is that it is not talking about the duration of infection.

In order to accurately determine with the fruit (the detection of primary infection in the mother), recommended the study of amniotic fluid by amniocentesis (fetal bladder puncture with a thin needle through the abdominal wall). However, it should be remembered that the amniotic fluid Toxoplasma fall a month later after infection of the mother, so to diagnose the fetus may be only after this date.

Ultrasound of infected fetus can be determined by enlargement of the liver and spleen, enlargement of the ventricles of the brain, intracranial calcification. The placenta may be thickened, it may also be defined as calcification.

In some cases, the doctor, even knowing that you have in the house lives a cat may not direct you to the analysis. The fact that the owners of cats in 90% of cases there is immunity to toxoplasmosis (the cat lives longer, the greater the likelihood of immunity). Therefore, if the doctor, by contrast, begins to insist that you broke up with the cat which is 5 years living in your home and is a family member, the easier it will be to part with the doctor.

Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis treatment

The treatment is carried out only at primary infection!

Drugs acting on Toxoplasma can apply only after 12 weeks of pregnancy (some only after 16 weeks), as they can have a harmful effect on the fetus. Usually the pathogen is not destroyed completely, the treatment is directed mainly at reducing its activity.

Newborns with infected mothers and subsequent treatment is required to be examined even in the absence of clinical manifestations.

Prevention of toxoplasmosis

Prevention is most important during pregnancy, and those women who had never met with Toxoplasma and not have to it immunity.

  • When working in the garden wear gloves to the ground falling on the skin. The skin may be small fissures, and in the land of Toxoplasma. Thoroughly wash vegetables and fruits.
  • To cut raw meat is also better to wear gloves, at least then you have to wash my hands. Thoroughly cook or prevaricate meat, from steak with blood during pregnancy give up.
  • If you have a living cat, charge cleaning her toilet to someone else, and then suddenly at a cat bath, there are traces of old feces.
  • Do not kiss your beloved pet, as in acute infection cats, Toxoplasma can stand it with saliva and secretions from the nose.
  • Can be used for analysis of cat’s feces to determine if it is not infected by toxoplasmosis. If your cat was how cleanly what had with toxoplasmosis have not encountered, you must protect her from a disease in the future (at least for the period of your pregnancy): do not feed raw meat to give to communicate with relatives or out on the street.

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