Toxoplasma Gondii (Toxoplasma Gondii): What It Is, Development Cycle, Symptoms And Treatment During Pregnancy

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Toxoplasma Gondii (Toxoplasma Gondii): What It Is, Development Cycle, Symptoms And Treatment During Pregnancy
Toxoplasma Gondii (Toxoplasma Gondii): What It Is, Development Cycle, Symptoms And Treatment During Pregnancy
Video: Toxoplasma Gondii (Toxoplasma Gondii): What It Is, Development Cycle, Symptoms And Treatment During Pregnancy
Video: Toxoplasmosis | Acquired vs Congenital | Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment 2023, February

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  • Life cycle
  • Ways of infection with Toxoplasma gondii
  • Symptoms and manifestation of the disease, its effect on a person
  • Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy
  • Parasite detection tests
  • Treatment and prevention of toxoplasmosis
  • You can defeat parasites!

The disease can occur in an acute and / or chronic form and lead to serious damage not only to internal organs, but also to the nervous system, eyes, etc. Toxoplasmosis infection of pregnant women can lead to the most serious consequences, up to the death of the fetus.

What to do in such a situation? To get started, we recommend reading this article. This article details the methods of dealing with parasites. We also recommend contacting a specialist. Read the article >>>

Toxoplasmosis is considered one of the most common parasitic diseases. Suffice it to say that Toxoplasma gondia, according to scientific research, is found in 50-60% of the world's population, however, the distribution across regions is uneven: Europeans and North Americans - about 25%; Russians have approximately the same indicator, but in regions of the world with a hot climate (Africa, Latin America), the infection rate reaches 90%.

Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma gondia is diagnosed very often in pet owners, most often cats, who transmit this parasite to their owners.

Moreover, the main owner of Toxoplasma gondia is the cat, and the intermediate can be any warm-blooded animal, bird or man.

The pictures give some idea of ​​what the Toxoplasma gondia looks like and what its structure is (see above).

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The size of this single-celled parasite ranges from 4 to 15 microns, so it can only be seen under a sufficiently strong microscope. Its shape is most often somewhat elongated, like an orange slice, it can be oval, round, like an arc or arch.

The Toxoplasma gondia cell has a large nucleus, a rough cytoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, the Golgi apparatus (a kind of "stomach" - a membrane structure for processing proteins absorbed by the parasite) and other elements.

Life cycle

The main development cycle of Toxoplasma gondia occurs in the body of cats. They become infected with this parasite most often by eating infected rodents (mice, rats, etc.) or birds, after which the gondia Toxoplasma penetrates into the cells of the cat's intestines.

After a series of transformations, the formation of oocysts occurs - fertilized eggs, which the cat secretes along with feces.

Oocysts are covered with a dense membrane and are able to remain viable in the external environment for several months. Most often, human infection from a domestic cat just happens when cleaning up its excrement.

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Oocysts, having entered the human body, are first localized in the intestine, where they multiply, and then spread from it through the lymphatic and circulatory system.

The stage of lymphogenous drift is characterized by an increase and inflammation of the lymph nodes, followed by the stage of hematogenous dissemination, when the Toxoplasma gondii spreads throughout the body with the blood flow.

As a rule, the duration of this stage is only a few days, after which Toxoplasma gondia is localized in the nervous system, in the brain, retina, liver, muscles, and it can do this both inside and outside the cells of the organ, forming clusters, which are called pseudocysts …

Due to the fact that the parasite is inside the cells, the human immune system may not detect it.

Once inside the cell, Toxoplasma gondia begins to multiply, sequentially dividing into two cells.

These rapidly dividing forms, called tachyositis, eventually rupture the cell and escape to the tissue where the infection is located. Mobile tachyositis reproduce asexually, constantly reproducing new parasites, but the immune system destroys them relatively easily.

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True, they can infect other cells, where bradiositis is formed, which are underdeveloped parasites, which, nevertheless, are able to maintain a latent infection of the organism.

Life cycle
Life cycle

Ways of infection with Toxoplasma gondii

It is transmitted in other ways: oral or intrauterine; infection is also possible through the bite of blood-sucking insects.

Oral transmission most often occurs through contact with a cat and its excrement, if you do not wash your hands with soap and water after each such contact.

Toxoplasma gondria cysts can also be found in the soil and on vegetables, so they must be thoroughly washed and / or heat treated.

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Oral routes of infection include eating undercooked or undercooked meat contaminated with oocysts. It is categorically impossible to try raw minced meat, as some housewives do.

Infection routes
Infection routes

Symptoms and manifestation of the disease, its effect on a person

Symptoms of toxoplasmosis differ depending on the form - congenital or acquired (acute or chronic).

We will talk about congenital toxoplasmosis below. As for the acute form of the disease, it can occur after an incubation (prodromal) period of 5-14 days and is accompanied by high fever, an increase in the size of the liver and spleen, and sometimes a maculopapular rash.

If the main severity of the lesion falls on the nervous system, then acute toxoplasmosis is characterized by the appearance of headaches, vomiting, seizures, paralysis.

But most often, the disease takes on a chronic course, which proceeds with almost the same, only mild symptoms: the temperature is kept at a subfebrile level, headaches, liver and lymph nodes are enlarged.

Sometimes the eyes, nervous and other systems of the body are affected. If the brain is affected, schizophrenia can develop.

Take a toxoplasma test

Symptoms Answer Heat Yes Not Liver pain Yes Not General weakness Yes Not Spleen pain Yes Not Rash on the body Yes Not Headache Yes Not Vomiting Yes Not Convulsions Yes Not Paralysis Yes Not The manifestation of schizophrenia Yes Not

Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

Particularly dangerous is intrauterine infection with toxoplasmosis of the fetus during pregnancy, which is almost inevitable if the mother herself contracted it during this period.

If a woman is infected with Toxoplasma gondia at least six months before pregnancy, then it is considered that this does not threaten the child.

Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy
Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

If infection occurs during pregnancy, then the fetus may develop serious diseases up to deviations from the norm, including dropsy of the brain (hydrocephalus), congenital deformities, mental retardation, damage to the nervous system, eyes, etc.

Oligophrenia in children as a result of congenital toxoplasmosis, as a rule, manifests itself in a severe form from the first months of life.

Such newborns often suffer from lymphadenopathy, encephalitis, pneumonitis, myocarditis, etc. In a severe form of intrauterine damage to the fetus, it may even die.

Especially dangerous is infection with Toxoplasma gondii for up to 24 weeks, that is, in the first trimester of pregnancy, since the fetus develops malformations incompatible with life. Doctors often recommend terminating the pregnancy in such cases.

If the woman refuses to terminate the pregnancy, treatment is carried out, but its result is difficult to predict.

Parasite detection tests

The symptomatology of toxoplasmosis has few characteristic features, so it cannot be diagnosed based on patient complaints.

However, it is necessary to collect an epidemiological history (see above on routes of infection).

Although toxoplasmosis is caused by a protozoan parasite, parasitological studies are not considered reliable enough, since it cannot always be detected in biological fluids.

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Moreover, on the basis of this method, it is impossible to establish the duration of infection.

Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is based on the following methods:

  • enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) to detect antibodies to toxoplasmosis in the blood. Its advantage is that it is possible to determine the duration of infection: immediately after it and during the next year, IgM is found in the blood, and IgG remains in it for life;
  • PCR (polymer chain reaction) to clarify the data obtained by ELISA. PCR is aimed at detecting the RNA or DNA of Toxoplasma gondia in the body, usually in urine or blood from a vein, and in pregnant women, in the amniotic fluid. Gives either a negative or a positive answer (even with minimal infection). Considered very accurate, although not cheap;
  • the method of indirect immunofluorescence, which is considered one of the most effective and detects IgM and IgG to Toxoplasma gondii;
  • reactions of indirect hemagglutination, allowing the detection of IgG to Toxoplasma. If IgG is normal, that is, below 700 mg / dL (7 g / L), then the test result is negative;
  • serological, aimed at detecting specific IgM and IgG to confirm or exclude toxoplasmosis;
  • intradermal hypersensitivity test by subcutaneous injection of toxoplasmin. If the diameter of the hyperemic spot at the injection site within two days is more than 10 mm, then the result is positive, that is, the patient is infected.
Tests for toxoplasmosis
Tests for toxoplasmosis

It should be noted right away that the analysis should be deciphered only by a doctor, who, if necessary, prescribes additional tests to clarify the diagnosis.

Even if Toxoplasma gondii are found, what this means and what treatment is required is determined only by the doctor.

Particular attention is paid to pregnant women due to the serious consequences of congenital toxoplasmosis for the child; they need to donate blood for analysis to detect the presence or absence of specific IgM and IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma. If necessary, such tests are taken repeatedly to confirm the diagnosis.

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As a rule, no special preparation for passing such tests is required, although there are certain recommendations. Before taking venous blood for analysis, you must:

  • stop taking antibacterial drugs within 2 weeks;
  • 2 days before the test, limit, or better, give up fried, heavy food, caffeine and alcohol;
  • do not use perfumes, aromatic gels and soaps 12 hours before the test.

Treatment and prevention of toxoplasmosis

In the medical environment, there is an opinion that it is impossible to completely get rid of toxoplasmosis. However, with good immunity, the body itself is able to cope with them and prevent the development of the disease.

With a weakening of immunity, especially in HIV-infected and AIDS patients, treatment is necessary and in these categories of patients it is carried out for life, using suppressive therapy, which prevents the recurrence of the disease. The main goal in such cases is to transfer it to a latent state.

Chemotherapy alone is not very effective in this case, so the main emphasis is on immunomodulating and hyposensitizing therapy in order to mobilize the defenses of the body itself.

The course of treatment is compiled individually and is a combination of antibiotics with chemotherapy and immunomodulatory therapy. A well-established human immunoglobulin against Toxoplasma gondia.

With damage to the central nervous system and for the treatment of choreoretinitis, glucocorticoids are used, as well as pyrimethamine in combination with sulfadiazine (if the latter is intolerant, it is replaced with clindamycin). The course of therapy can last a whole year.

Prevention of toxoplasmosis, especially for pregnant women, consists in strict adherence to hygiene requirements, excluding contact with cats, and eating meat products that have only been properly heat treated.

An important point in prevention is the destruction of rodents and insects, which often become carriers of Toxoplasma oocysts.

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