Table of contents:
- What is toxoplasmosis
- Is toxoplasmosis dangerous
- Sources of infection
- How to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis
- Toxoplasmosis treatment
- Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy
Video: How Is Toxoplasmosis Transmitted: Transmission Routes, How You Can Get Infected
Most people who are far from medicine have never heard of the existence of such a disease as toxoplasmosis, and yet everyone has the likelihood of contracting it. What kind of disease it is, what danger it poses, who is at risk, and how toxoplasmosis is transmitted - let's try to figure it out.
- 1 What is toxoplasmosis
2 Is toxoplasmosis dangerous
- 2.1 Purchased
- 2.2 Congenital
3 About sources of infection
- 3.1 Transmission from cats and dogs
- 3.2 Other methods
- 4 How to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis
- 5 Treatment of toxoplasmosis
- 6 Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy
What is toxoplasmosis
This is the name of the disease caused by toxoplasma - microscopic protozoan parasites of the sporozoa class, which have the shape of an arc, oval or semicircle. Toxoplasma affects the nervous system, eyes, heart, and can lead to pathological enlargement of the lymph nodes, spleen, liver.
Is toxoplasmosis dangerous
Distinguish between acquired (acute or chronic toxoplasmosis) and congenital forms.
In its acute form, the disease is rare; people with weakened immunity, often with many other diseases, are susceptible to it. Symptoms depend on which part of the body the parasites have settled in. Perhaps the development of pneumonia, various pathologies of the heart, liver, other internal organs, sometimes the brain suffers.
Chronic toxoplasmosis is much more common. Unlike the acute form, it can be asymptomatic or with mild symptoms. In most cases, the manifestations of the disease are similar to those of a cold: lethargy, chills, aches throughout the body, a slight increase in temperature, etc.
The greatest danger is congenital toxoplasmosis, and the way of its infection is in the womb, and the shorter the gestation period at the time of infection, the more dangerous the disease.
So, if the expectant mother fell ill in the first trimester, then there is a high probability (about 70%) that the child will die or be born with severe lesions of the central nervous system. Even if this can be avoided, infected children are lagging behind their peers in development, are in poor health and are prone to constant colds. Jaundice, rash, strabismus, changes in the liver and spleen are also possible.
In the second trimester, when the main part of the vital organs has already been formed, and the placenta that protects it, surrounds the fetus, the possibility of such pathologies is only 40%, and at a later date, the disease is no longer terrible for the baby.
Sources of infection
The main carriers of toxoplasmosis are cats. The disease can be transmitted to an animal both through contact with an already sick feline, and after eating contaminated foods.
Transmission from cats and dogs
Let's take a closer look at how they get infected with toxoplasmosis from pets:
- When cleaning the litter box, because in the feces of a sick cat there is a huge number of oocytes - Toxoplasma larvae. It is interesting that only 2 hours after the excrement, the oocytes acquire "combat capability". If you clean before this time, the risk of infection is practically zero.
- At any touch to your pet. Licking itself, the cat transfers part of the oocytes with saliva to the coat. It is enough to stroke a sick animal, and then forget to wash your hands before eating, and the parasites will settle in your body.
It is also important to remember: Toxoplasma is extremely tenacious, and, when it gets into the soil in your garden with the feces of an infected animal, it can dormant for years, waiting for an opportunity to get into your body. One has only to sit down at the table after garden work without washing your hands, and the job is done!
However, you can get toxoplasmosis if:
- the blood test of a sick dog is not performed carefully;
- the wool of an infected animal enters the human esophagus (relevant for children of the first year of life, who tend to pull everything into their mouth);
- when eating dog meat (fortunately, this is more true for the inhabitants of Korea, where dog meat is considered a delicacy).
Our beloved cats and dogs are not always to blame, since there are other ways of infection with toxoplasmosis, namely:
oral, when parasites enter the human body through the organs of the digestive system, when using food products that may contain parasites: unwashed
- fruit, insufficiently roasted meat, not heat-treated milk, etc.;
- percutaneous: that is, through any damage to the skin upon contact with an infected object, for example, when cutting meat or excavating;
- transplacental - the most dangerous when the infection is transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.
Much less often, but still there are ways of transmission of toxoplasmosis through blood transfusion or organ transplantation from an already infected donor.
How to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis
Unfortunately, the vaccine that could save us from this disease has not yet been invented. It is known that most people who have had toxoplasmosis develop antibodies that protect them from re-infection. To find out whether you were sick or not, you can only take a blood test, which will indicate the presence or absence of antibodies.
In the first case, you can congratulate yourself: you are not afraid of toxoplasmosis.
And as for those who have so far managed to avoid infection, in order to protect themselves in the future, they should only adhere to simple hygiene rules:
- Always wash your hands before eating (a phrase that has become a cliché, but has not lost its relevance!).
- Try to carry out all activities in which there is a high risk of infection through the skin, wearing rubber gloves: cleaning cat litter, cutting meat and fish, working with sand and earth.
- Do not eat undercooked meat and raw eggs, boil milk bought on the market, wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly.
- Cat owners are at greatest risk of infection.
You should not deny yourself the pleasure of admiring these graceful fluffy creatures, but some precautions that will allow you to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis can and should be taken:
- If you have a cat recently, be sure to show it to your veterinarian to make sure there are no parasites, and in the future, do not forget about regular visits to the veterinary clinic.
- Do not touch food without washing your hands and make sure that it is out of reach of your cat.
- Keep your pet's bowls clean and change the water and the contents of the litter box in time.
- For any signs of trouble, show the animal to the veterinarian and get tested yourself.
Precautions are especially important for the expectant mother in early pregnancy. Since toxoplasmosis is very dangerous for the fetus, and a woman's immunity is somewhat weakened during this period.
She also needs additional protection measures:
- Feed your cat only boiled meat.
- Eliminate any contact with other felines, try not to let your pet out into the street.
- If it turns out that the cat is still infected, give it to relatives for a while - sentimentality is inappropriate in this case.
- When registering with the antenatal clinic and in the future, before each visit to the doctor, take all the necessary tests, trying to provide them with the most recent material.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of this disease are typical for colds, so most people do not go to the doctor.
If a person seeks a doctor if they suspect toxoplasmosis, a number of additional studies are carried out. Parasitological methods are used, associated with infection of animals susceptible to the disease and serological - that is, detecting antibodies, by the form of which the doctor draws conclusions about the presence of infection.
Based on these data, a final diagnosis is made and the following drugs are prescribed:
- chemotherapy: Delagil, Fansidar;
- antibiotics: lincomycin chloride, Rovamycin;
- anthelmintic drugs: Levamisole;
- antiallergic: Lidase, Cerebrolysin;
Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy
It is important for a mother-to-be to know that many of the above drugs, which are harmless to an adult, can be as dangerous to the fetus as toxoplasmosis itself. And in this case, special attention is paid to the prevention of the disease.
But after all, all this can be avoided, knowing how to get infected, observing basic safety rules, and taking your health more seriously, not hoping that nature will forgive us for our frivolity and the trouble will pass by.