Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii that can affect the growing baby in pregnancy.

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. In non-pregnant women it doesn’t have many symptoms. In fact, many people will never know they have had it. Some people may have mild flu-like symptoms. A few may experience a more long-term illness similar to glandular fever and swollen lymph nodes.

Although toxoplasmosis normally causes a mild illness in people with healthy immune systems, it's risky during pregnancy because it may harm your baby. 

The parasite can be found in meat, cat faeces, the soil where cats defecate and unpasteurised goats’ milk. The toxoplasma parasite can infect most birds and warm-blooded animals, including humans. Cats are the only animals that can have infected faeces. After it catches the infection through eating birds, mice or other raw meat, a cat can shed infectious faeces for about 14 days.

Toxoplasmosis cannot be caught by stroking a cat or having a cat as a pet. The infection comes from coming into contact with the infected faeces of a cat.

How common is toxoplasmosis?

It is estimated that between a third and half of the UK population will have the infection at some point in their lives. Once you have had the infection, you are then immune for life – you cannot catch it again. Around 2,000 UK women per year contract toxoplasmosis during pregnancy.

Most pregnant women may never know they have been infected unless they experience problems during their pregnancy that mean they have tests. However the infection often has no symptoms at all.

The effects of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis does not usually cause any symptoms and in most cases a person does not realise they have caught the infection. It can cause symptoms similar to flu or glandular fever, sometimes including swollen lymph nodes. Once a person has had the disease they are generally thought to be protected for life, unless they suffer an impairment of their immune system.

Risks of toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is only a risk to an unborn baby if caught for the first time during pregnancy or within a few weeks before you get pregnant.

If an unborn baby catches the disease they are said to have ‘congenital toxoplasmosis’. The damage the infection may cause will depend on when in pregnancy you got the infection.

If you catch toxoplasmosis for the first time during pregnancy, it does not mean that your baby will be infected.

On average, only 4 in 10 of such infections will pass to the baby. Caught during pregnancy, toxoplasmosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or damage to the baby’s brain and other organs, particularly the eyes.

However, most babies born with toxoplasmosis have no obvious damage at birth but develop symptoms, usually eye damage, during childhood or even adulthood. A few will have more serious symptoms such as blindness or brain damage. 

How is toxoplasmosis caught?

Toxoplasmosis is caught by swallowing anything infected with, or contaminated by, the parasite.
This could be:

  • raw or undercooked meat (meat showing any traces of pink or blood), and raw cured meat such as Parma ham or salami
  • unwashed vegetables and fruit
  • cat faeces or soil contaminated with cat faeces
  • unpasteurised goats’ milk and dairy products made from it.

The infection can also be passed:

  • through the placenta if the mother becomes infected infection (mother to unborn baby).
  • through infected matter entering human body fluids; if, for example, during the process of lambing, material splashes into eyes or open cuts.
  • through transplanted organs or blood products from other humans that are infected toxoplasmosis
  • through inhaling the parasite eggs (possible but very unusual).

Person-to-person infection is not possible, except from mother to unborn child.

Who is at risk of toxoplasmosis?

Anyone who eats anything infected with the parasite. Pregnant women who work on the land, in catering or farming may be at higher risk as they may be more likely to come into contact with the parasite. Lambing is a particular risk for pregnant women.

Tips to avoid toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

Only eat meat that has been thoroughly cooked (ie, with no trace of blood or pinkness).

  • Avoid raw meat and cured meat, such as Parma ham.
  • Wash hands, chopping boards and utensils thoroughly after preparing raw meat.
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before cooking/eating to remove all traces of soil.
  • Avoid unpasteurised goats’ milk and dairy products made from it.
  • Wear gloves when gardening and wash hands and gloves afterwards – if you eat while gardening wash your hands first, and try to avoid gardening in areas that may have been soiled with cat faeces.
  • Cover children’s sandpits to prevent cats using them as litter boxes.
  • Remove faeces from cat litter tray every day wearing rubber gloves (or ask someone else do this), scald trays regularly with boiling water.
  • If you are handling litter trays, wash gloves and hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Do not handle lambing ewes and do not bring lambs into the house.

Can I change the cat litter tray while pregnant?

Cats are the only animals that can shed this parasite in their faeces. Provided precautions are taken, cats are not a particular risk to a pregnant woman. If you are handling litter trays, wash gloves and hands thoroughly afterwards.

What should I do if I think I may have toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is not routinely tested for during pregnancy in the UK. You may however request a blood test from your GP if you feel you may have put yourself at risk, you are concerned about symptoms.

The blood test looks for antibodies – the body’s natural defences – to the infection. It may take three weeks for these antibodies to be present following an infection, so the blood test will only pick up an infection that you’ve had for at least three weeks. Depending on the type of antibodies found and whether levels are stable, rising or falling, it’s possible to determine when the infection took place.

The results may come back in a week, or longer if they have been passed on to a Toxoplasma Reference Laboratory .

Tests for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Blood tests for toxoplasmosis can be done at any stage before or during pregnancy. The blood test can usually only show possible infection two to three weeks after any risk incident, as it can take this long for antibodies to be detectable.

The blood test involves taking a small amount of blood from the mother. There is no risk to the unborn baby. The blood test aims to show whether certain antibodies indicating toxoplasmosis are present or not, and, if they are present, to find out when the infection happened.

If the tests show that there is a recent or current infection, there is a risk that the baby will be infected. The obstetrician or GP will make a recommendation about any further action that might be required. It may take several weeks for the infection to pass from you to your baby. The degree of risk and severity of damage depends on when you were infected.

A positive result due to a current/recent infection

If the test shows a current or recent infection the blood must be sent on from the local laboratory to the Toxoplasma Reference Laboratory, for confirmation and further testing.

A small percentage of tests will appear positive when in reality a woman has never had the disease.

If further tests show that you have a current or recent infection, it means you are suffering from an acute toxoplasma infection. Further action needs to be taken to assess the risk of passing the infection on to your baby.

If you were infected shortly before conception

Infection caught shortly before conception (within a few weeks before) carries a one percent risk or below of transmission to the baby, but there is a risk of miscarriage if the baby does become infected.

If you were infected in the first trimester (week one to 12)

Infection caught at this stage of pregnancy carries about 10-15% risk of transmission to the baby. A baby infected at this stage has a risk of being miscarried or born with severe symptoms such as hydrocephalus (water on the brain), calcifications of the brain, or retinochoroiditis (inflammation of the retina).

If you were infected in the second trimester (week 13 to 28)

Infection caught at this stage of pregnancy brings about 25% risk of transmission. A baby infected at this stage is less likely to be miscarried, but is still at risk of developing severe symptoms as above.

If you were infected in the third trimester (week 29 to 40)

Infection caught later in pregnancy is more likely to spread to your baby, the risk of transmission may be as high as 70–80%, but if problems develop, they are less likely to be as serious. Most babies infected will be apparently healthy at birth, but a large proportion will develop symptoms later in life, usually eye damage.

Finding out if the baby has been infected

Further tests can be carried out to find out whether or not the baby is infected, although the tests will not show how severe the damage is. An obstetrician or GP can explain the risks and benefits of conducting these tests.

Amniocentesis is a technique where amniotic fluid is removed by a fine needle from the amniotic sac – the fluid-filled sac around the baby.

Cordocentesis is a technique where a sample of the baby’s blood is removed from the umbilical cord.

These procedures carry a .5-1% percent risk of causing miscarriage. They are normally carried out after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The amniotic fluid or blood from the umbilical cord is then tested at the Toxoplasma Reference Laboratory using a range of specialised tests.

If this is positive, the baby will be considered to be infected. Results typically take two to five days. A detailed ultrasound scan will show if there is major damage, such as hydrocephalus (water on the brain), but a scan that shows no damage, while reassuring, does not rule out the possibility that the baby is both infected and affected.

Treatment of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

If you have a positive blood test result, you may be prescribed an antibiotic called spiramycin, which reduces the risk of the infection being passed from you to the baby. Spiramycin only reduces the risk of transmission from mother to baby and is not active against the parasite. It therefore cannot limit any damage if a baby has already become infected.

If the baby is found to be infected, a combination of pyrimethamine and sulphadiazine can be taken. These are both stronger antibiotics and help limit any damage to the baby, although again, they cannot undo any damage.

At 20 weeks an ultrasound scan may also highlight any obvious physical problems in the baby. Termination of pregnancy is also an option for some women, when an infected baby with severe developmental problems has been confirmed.

All babies born to women with confirmed toxoplasmosis in pregnancy will be monitored closely by paediatricians and receive blood tests during their first year.

Side effects of treatments

Spiramycin is used routinely in France for treatment of toxoplasmosis in pregnancy, with little evidence of adverse effects. Experts consider that it is safe to use in pregnancy when a baby is at risk. Women taking spiramycin sometimes experience side effects such as nausea or rashes. Pyrimethamine and sulphadiazine can have side effects for both the mother and baby related to red-blood cell production. Although not normally prescribed in pregnancy, they can be used in extreme circumstances. They are taken with folinic acid, which helps to reduce the worst side effects.

All babies born to women who have had a recent or current infection in pregnancy should be given a thorough physical examination after birth, followed by blood tests during the first year of the baby’s life.

Treatment after the baby is born

Blood sample

A blood sample should be taken from at-risk babies shortly after birth. A blood sample should also then be taken from you to compare the levels of specific antibodies between you and your baby.

Tests will be carried out to look for different types of antibodies to toxoplasmosis in the baby’s blood. Your baby carries some of your antibodies, so a positive result is expected and not necessarily alarming. If additional antibodies are present, this may indicate that your baby is infected.

Other checks/examinations

Babies who are known to be at risk of having congenital toxoplasmosis should be checked for signs of neurological damage. The eyes will be examined for signs of any problem, preferably by an ophthalmologist (eye specialist). Long-term follow-up by an ophthalmologist might be necessary if eye damage is confirmed.

Your baby’s general health will also be checked. If there is any possibility that the baby has brain damage, special head X-rays might be carried out to check for calcifications, enlarged ventricles or any other abnormalities.

Treatment for babies who have been infected with toxoplasmosis

If blood tests showed that your baby has been infected, antibiotics might be prescribed, even if your baby shows no symptoms. Treatment can sometimes be continued for as long as one year, to help prevent or limit the eye damage that can possibly occur later.

Further tests/examinations

A blood sample taken every few months, up to the age of one year, can show whether your baby’s antibody level is falling. By that age, the level should be completely negative. This means that your baby will have lost the antibodies acquired from you and is not infected. When your baby’s blood sample is completely antibody-negative, it means they are definitely not congenitally infected. A falling antibody level is a good sign, but is not conclusive and tests should continue until the antibody level is completely negative.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is safe if you have toxoplasmosis, the disease cannot be transmitted this way. You are also passing on extra antibodies to your baby, making their immune system stronger. Breastfeeding is therefore recommended, unless you are being treated with pyrimethamine. This medication should be changed before breastfeeding.

UK government policy on toxoplasmosis screening

The UK National Screening Committee recently reported that screening for toxoplasmosis in pregnancy should not be offered routinely as there is not enough evidence that it would help .

The Committee suggests that getting pregnant women to avoid undercooked or cured meat and communicating the best ways of avoiding infection is a better way of controlling toxoplasmosis than antenatal screening.

Sources

  1. Ho-Yen DO, Joss AWL (eds.) Human Toxoplasmosis. Oxford Oxford Medical Publications, 1992
  2. Joynson DHM, Wreghitt TG. Toxoplasmosis: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2001
  3. The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food. Risk Profile in Relation to Toxoplasma in the Food Chain. London Foods Standards Agency, 2012
  4. Hall S, Ryan M, Buxton D. The epidemiology of toxoplasma infection in Joynson DHM, Wreghitt TG, (eds.) Toxoplasmosis: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2001: 58-124.5
  5. Elsheikha HM. Congenital toxoplasmosis: priorities for further health promotion action. Public Health, 2008; 122(4): 335-53
  6. Krick JA and Remington JS. Toxoplasmosis in the adult overview. N England J Med 1978; 298: 550-3.7
  7. Thulliez P. Maternal and foetal infection, In Joynson DHM, Wreghitt TG, (eds). Toxoplasmosis: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide, Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2001: 193-213.8
  8. Remington JS, McLeod R, Desmonts G. Toxoplasmosis. In Remington JS, Krupp MA, Klein JO (eds), Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant, 5th Ed. Philadelphia W.B. Saunders Company, 2000: 205-346.9
  9. Public Health Wales. Results of Toxoplasma Study. Cardiff Public Health Wales, 2007 (available at: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/news/14491) (accessed December 2013)
  10. Health Protection Agency. Investigation of Toxoplasma Infection in Pregnancy. UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations 5 Issue 2.2. London HPS, 2012  (http://www.hpa.org.uk/SMI/pdf) (accessed December 2013)
  11. Toxoplasma Reference Unit, Public Health Wales, Edward Guy. Personal communication, 2012
  12. Desmonts G, Couvreur J, Thulliez P. Congenital Toxoplasmosis: Five cases with mother-to-child transmission of pre-pregnancy infection. Press Med 1990; 19: 1445-49.13
  13. Dunn D et al. Mother-to-child transmission of toxoplasmosis: risk estimates for clinical counselling. Lancet 1999; 353: 1829-33.14
  14. Hohlfeld P et al. Prenatal diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis with a polymerase-chain-reaction test on amniotic fluid. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 695-9.15
  15. Gras L et al. Association between prenatal treatment and clinical manifestations of congenital toxoplasmosis in infancy: a cohort study in 13 European centres. Acta Paediatr 2005; 94: 1721-31.16
  16. McCabe R.E. Anti-Toxoplasma Chemotherapy. In Joynson DHM, Wreghitt TG (eds.) Toxoplasmosis: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2001: 319-359
  17. Daveluy et al, for the Eurotoxo Group (panel 2). Review of data related to side effects of drugs used in congenital toxoplasmosis [unpublished report]. Bordeaux, France The Eurotoxo Group, 2005 
  18. Alex W, Joss L. Treatment. In Ho-Yen DO, Joss AWL (eds.) Human Toxoplasmosis. Oxford Oxford Medical Publications, 1992: 119-143
  19. Eaton RB et al. Newborn screening for congenital toxoplasma infection. In Joynson DHM, Wreghitt TG (eds) Toxoplasmosis: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2001: 241-253
  20. Sanchez PJ and Ahmed A. Toxoplasmosis, Syphilis, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In Taeusch HW, Ballard RA, Gleason CA (eds.) Avery’s Diseases of the Newborn, 8th Ed. Philadelphia Elsevier Saunders, 2004: 531
  21. Bonametti AM, Passos JN. Research Letters (to the editor): Re: Probable transmission of acute toxoplasmosis through breastfeeding. Journal of Tropical Paediatrics 1997; 43: 116
  22. Goldfarb J. Breastfeeding. AIDS and other infectious diseases. Clin Perinatol 1993; 20: 225-243
  23. NSC (2015) Antenatal screening for Toxoplasmosis. External review against criterIA set by the UK Mational Screening Committee, UK National Screening Committee file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/Review_Toxoplasmosis_2016.pdf

 

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    Last reviewed on October 3rd, 2016. Next review date October 3rd, 2019.

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    Comments

    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Amy (not verified) on 25 Sep 2019 - 14:14

      Hi can you contact toxoplasmosis through sharing a cigarette? Thanks

    • By Paulo (not verified) on 7 Nov 2019 - 13:20

      I don't think you can

    • By Kiki (not verified) on 27 Jul 2019 - 13:26

      I cleaned chicken wings to prepare BBQ, I washed my hands after, but I do not remember whether I washed really well or not. And at night I had sex then I am pregnant. Now I am worried because I do not remember whether I washed my hands well enough and I wash my face and brush my teeth after by having hands getting some water into my mouth. And I do not remember when I had sex whether my hands touched my vagina. Will toxoplasmosis go into my mouth and vagina that will harm my baby? Help

    • By Mimi (not verified) on 25 Jul 2019 - 11:13

      Hi,

      I am so worried this morning they were a dying baby fox in my neighborhood and some people were trying to help by giving him some water and moving him from the place where he was lying as it was too sunny. One of the young girl came in contact with my hands after touching him and I realize afterwards that she might have passed on some of the foxes bacteria to me. I bought from the nearest shop a sanitizer gel and some antibacterial wipes until I arrived to my work and could wash my hands with soap. I don't know if its in my head or an infection but since that happen this morning my throat is hurting. I am a month a half pregnant :( I m so scared after reading that it can have some serious bad side effect on the baby

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Jul 2019 - 23:12

      Hello.
      I’m 17 weeks pregnant. Two days ago, I accidentally cooked with water that appeared a bit orange/rusty that came from the tap (I didn’t notice the water was a bit contaminated until I saw it accumulate in the toilet bowl). I used the tap water to cook dumplings and noodles and everything was brought to a boil of course. Now I am worried about Taxoplasmosis, What’s the risk of me getting infected from this water? I read that taxoplasmosis (including its cysts) are killed once water reaches 65-70degrees celsius? I may have a tiny bit of sore throat today. Do I need to be tested for infection? If so, can I wait till my obstetrician appointment in 2 weeks?

    • By Rachel (not verified) on 27 Jun 2019 - 17:20

      Hi I’m currently 26 weeks pregnant, I’ve been sharing some crisps with my son and then saw he’s got mud all down his nails and I don’t know if any went on the crisps I was eating. Have I put myself at risk? Thank you

    • By Naomi (not verified) on 9 Jun 2019 - 19:22

      I wasn't sure if my daughter had cat poo on her shoe so I smelt it and accidentky touched my nose with the shoe and definitely smelt of cat poo, washed my nose loads but could this transmit toxoplasmosis too me? I'm 31weeks pregnant

    • By Rocio (not verified) on 29 May 2019 - 20:54

      Hi,
      The other day i used the knife someone previously used to cut chicken. This makes me feel anxious about the possibility of have caught toxoplasmosis. I read a comment here saying chicken do not carry toxoplasmosis but on google I read they do ?. Thank you in advance

    • By Elena (not verified) on 28 May 2019 - 16:41

      Hello, I am 18 pregnant and today I got results from my blood test which show IgM positive and IgG also positive (>250 !!!!) I went again to repeat the test and plus to check the IggG adivity.
      I am so scared and confused and don`t know what to think and do :( So far the scans of the baby were fine. Can the result be false??? Many thanks

    • By mero (not verified) on 27 May 2019 - 02:20

      am 7 weeks pregnant. and my results came back toxoplasma gondi AB IGM positive and IGG 62.7
      I am so worried. this is my second pregnancy. these results have been sent on my email. my gynecologist hasn't explained anything yet. but am more than worried. it's my first time to even hear about the disease. I dont have any pets at home. but I eat lots of barbecue. am worried.

    • By Michelle (not verified) on 15 May 2019 - 18:38

      Hi, I'm 5 wks pregnant and really worried about toxoplasmosis. I have a cat who is mostly indoor but does go outside. I have been changing his litter tray up until finding out last week. He is upto date with worming. Should I ask my gp for a test? Will they take me serious? Cant stop worrying and googling! Thanks

    • By Zoe (not verified) on 30 Mar 2019 - 16:37

      Hi. I was doing some garden tidying and picked up what i thought was smushed grass and actually turned out to be poo. Im unsure if it was cat or dog as it was front lawn. I was wearing water resistant gardening gloves. My husband called me and i got distracted anf then walked the shop. I cannot remember if i washed my hands when i went inside. I ate some melon with a fork on the way back from the shop and i definitely washed my hands when i got back in. I'm terrified I'm going to pick toxoplasmosis up. Im 11 weeks. I did work in a kennels/cattery from a young age until early 20s so I'm hopeful i may have an immunity but I'm so scared and so angry I've been so thoughtless. Do you think I'm at risk? Many thanks Zoe.

    • By Sonaaryma (not verified) on 23 Mar 2019 - 22:22

      Hi.
      Igm for anti‐toxoplasma was detected during 21 weeks pregnant.
      Lab result (ELFA) on 23 weeks pregnant - igg 6 iu/ml (equivocal) and igm 0.87 (positive).
      24 weeks pregnant - started spiramycin.

      Detailed scan on 23 weeks and 26 weeks showed that baby is growing nicely.

      Im not sure what is my result meant.

    • By Helen (not verified) on 21 Mar 2019 - 07:46

      Hi, I'm worried I've exposed myself to toxo via allotment soil. A week before I found out I was pregnant I worked on my allotment and got tons of soil on my hands/ under my nails. I also noticed a small scratch on my hand. I never wear gloves when I handle soil and now feel really scared that I've put my baby in danger (am 5 weeks preg). I had cats as a kid and have always eaten rare meat- do you know the UK rates of tox immunity? Really hoping I'm already immune. Thanks.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Mar 2019 - 13:14

      Hi - Thank you for your message.

      Toxoplasmosis is not routinely tested for during pregnancy in the UK. You may however request a blood test from your GP if you feel you may have put yourself at risk, you are concerned about symptoms.

      The blood test looks for antibodies – the body’s natural defences – to the infection. It may take three weeks for these antibodies to be present following an infection, so the blood test will only pick up an infection that you’ve had for at least three weeks. Depending on the type of antibodies found and whether levels are stable, rising or falling, it’s possible to determine when the infection took place.

      The results may come back in a week, or longer if they have been passed on to a Toxoplasma Reference Laboratory .

    • By Sarah (not verified) on 19 Mar 2019 - 17:37

      Hi,

      I was in a restaurant yesterday and I ordered roasted duck. The duck itself is cooked, but it was cut into pieces after it is cooked. I am not sure whether the restaurant use clean knife or cutting board to cut cooked meat, so I am concerned with getting infected.

      I ate about 4 pieces of duck chunck, should I be worried? Thanks a lot!

      Sarah

    • By Caroline (not verified) on 19 Mar 2019 - 13:37

      I had a blood test taken two weeks ago that confirmed I was toxoplasmosis positive. They ran a rest on my booking bloods from the 30th Jan to try and find out if infection is historic or current. Those bloods have come back as Igm positive and Igg negative. I have had a repeat test today to see if levels are rising. I am worried beyond belief! I’m currently 17/40 is there info anywhere that shows you statistics of the likelihood of fetal abnormalities occurring? I can only find rate of transmission. Is rate of abnormalities relatively small? Many thanks

    • By Kate (not verified) on 13 Mar 2019 - 16:39

      I’ve been having flu like symptoms for past two days, with a temp of about 38.5 c. I’m so worried that this might be toxoplasmosis but my midwife seemed unconcerned. Can I request a blood test from my go?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2019 - 16:42

      Hi Kate,
      If these symptoms continue then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Charlene (not verified) on 18 Feb 2019 - 17:23

      Hi there
      Just discovered my INDOOR ONLY cats have coccidia. I’ve read some organisms of coccidia are toxoplasma. I’ve not changed the litter since the end of November when I found out I was pregnant, but my cats are on furniture and even jump on the table and counters sometimes. I’m afraid they track their poo around the house and I’ve somehow invested it. Do I need to panic? Is it likely I’ve contracted toxoplasma? I’ll do bloodwork but am absolutely freaking.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Feb 2019 - 12:57

      Hi Charlene, Thank you for your comment.

      As you have had your cats before you were pregnant you may have already been exposed to the Toxoplasma organism in the past in which case you will be immune and this immunity passes on to the baby. Outside cats tend to be more exposed to Toxoplasmosis but as your cats have been diagnosed, then it may be worth going to the GP and getting a blood test for this to see if you have had the exposure in the past or in this pregnancy. Try not to worry, you haven't been changing the litter tray and as long as you are maintaining good hand hygiene then this is what is recommended. It may be advisable for the cats not to go on counter tops if you are preparing food to reduce the risk of transmission or clean all surfaces before use. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Feb 2019 - 11:10

      Hello

      I recently went to my parents house for a roast dinner. My mum got the roast pork out and tested the internal temperature which was 67 degrees. I ate a slice from the outside which was completely cooked through but had touched the juices which I noticed were slightly pink. When they cut into the centre I noticed that the meat had a slight pink colour. I did not eat any of this meat, only the outside slice. I have mentioned this to my GP and was told not to worry as I cannot catch toxoplasmosis this way - is this the case? I am very anxious. Thank you x

    • By worried mom (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 17:10

      While using a knife trying to unwrap frozen ground beef patties to heat them, I cut myself with the knife after it touched the raw frozen meat and had some minor bleed.
      Now I am super paranoid that this caused listeria or toxoplasmosis to transfer to my blood stream and harm my baby ... I am 32 weeks.
      what is the chance that the knife got contaminated when it touched the raw frozen meat then it contaminated my wound when I got pricked with it?
      is it true that Toxo is killed by freezing ?

    • By worried Mom (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 16:58

      While using a knife trying to unwrap frozen beef patties to heat them, I cut myself with the knife after it touched the raw frozen meat and had some minor bleed.
      Now I am super paranoid that this caused listeria or toxoplasmosis to transfer to my blood stream and harm my baby ...
      could Toxoplasmosis be present on the frozen raw meat then transferred to the knife then to my open wound ...please help ...
      I read that freezing kill Toxo...is that right ?

    • By Lindsey (not verified) on 1 Feb 2019 - 20:59

      Hi, I'm 8 weeks pregnant. I cooked a lamb steak under the grill today and left it under there for a good 10 minutes, possibly longer. I had a few bites before I realised it was probably medium/ well done as opposed to completely well done; there was a small amount of pink. I then took it back and pan fried it until completely cooked through, but I'm worrying about those couple of bites.

      I'm somebody who has always eaten rare steaks in the years before having children. Does this mean I'm likely already immune? Am I worrying too much?

      Thank you.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Feb 2019 - 14:23

      Hi Lindsey, Thankyou for your comment.

      As you have been eating rare steaks in the past you may have already been exposed to Toxoplasmosis. It does sound like you cooked the steak well and when you noticed a pink bit you cooked it for longer. If you are still concerned then you can always go to see you GP who can do a blood test for Toxoplasmosis and this test will be able to tell you if you have had it in the past, have a current infection or never had it, but if you feel like this will reduce your worry then please see the GP. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Emma (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 21:23

      I was infected with toxoplasmosis during my pregnancy. I had two amniocentesis tests and antibodies were found. I took spiromycin. My baby was scanned throughout the pregnancy and no symptoms showed.
      She was 10lbs at birth. She has her eyes tested just after birth and they were fine. She is now 15. Do I need to have further tests done. I worry that she might have a dormant infection which could do damage at a later stage.
      Many thanks

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 11:56

      Hi Emma
      This would be a question best asked to your own GP who knows your daughters medical history and can advise on if there are any signs that are of a concern now, which might need further investigation. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 16:57

      Iam 17 week pregnant. I have igm cmv 3.2 and igg toxoplasmosis is 1.2 in torch test.i repeat the test after two weeks. Result is igm cmv 3.8 and igg toxoplasmosis is 1.0 in test. After one month repeat igm cmv is3.2 and igg toxoplasmosis 1.0 in test.during the time i had spiromycine. Are there any chance of transmitting my baby.what should i do?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2019 - 10:45

      Hi there. You need to go to see your GP/Doctor about discussing these results as this is their speciality, not a midwife speciality.
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Angel (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 12:05

      I am currently 30 weeks pregnant and I would like to know if I would get toxoplasmosis by touching water that has raw organic chicken in it with my hand which has fresh wound under my nail. I am super anxious right now and I don't know what I can do next. Do you know if this will be the risk for my baby?

      Thank you!

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2019 - 12:43

      Hi Angel,
      Chickens do not carry toxoplasmosis therefore it would not be possible get this from raw chicken.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Angel (not verified) on 14 Jan 2019 - 08:31

      I was cooking pork ribs yesterday. When I put the raw pork ribs in the boiling water, the water just splashed everywhere in the kitchen floor and countertop. I learned that you can't kill toxoplasmosis using disinfectant. I am wondering how I should do to clean the floor and the kitchen countertop to get rid of toxoplasmosis if the pork was infected? If I walk on the floor in the kitchen, will I bring the parasite to everywhere including my bed?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Jan 2019 - 16:40

      Hi Angel, it is highly unlikely that the pork would have been infected with toxoplasmosis. Please be mindful of good handwashing practices and clean the kitchen floor and counters as you would normally.
      For more information please look at our Toxoplasmosis pages which include evidence based up to date information.
      Kind regards
      Anna-Tommy's Midwife

    • By Mary (not verified) on 12 Jan 2019 - 22:35

      Hello I am 20 weeks pregnant and my doctors
      Tested me for this. My results came back and my Igm came back negative but my IgG came back 33.3 positive. Does that mean I am immune to it and I have nothing to worry about? And my baby will never be infected with it?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Jan 2019 - 13:01

      Yes Mary, This is a reassuring result and you should have nothing to worry about. The infection that you had in the past has now provided an immunity to you and therefore to your unborn baby.

    • By Priyanka (not verified) on 12 Jan 2019 - 00:27

      I have had a recent report which indicates IgM positive and IgG negative. IgM is positive with the level of 1.08 UI/ml. Below 1 is considered negative. I am having a test done after two weeks of this test. But I am getting restless. I have heard that the reports are often false positive. Should I be really worried?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Jan 2019 - 12:58

      Yes, there is is a chance that this is a false positive and should always be repeated to confirm. You don't say whether you are pregnant or not? If you are and you want more information, please don't hesitate to contact us again or call on 0800 0147 800.

    • By Maria (not verified) on 10 Jan 2019 - 23:24

      Hi, few weeks ago i got in contact with row meet and probably cat poo as well. I explain to my midwife all the situations and my concerns in being exposed to toxoplasmosis, but she insists that they do not offer screening and tests for toxo. I even offered to pay for them just neded an referal. Could you please advise what should I do in this situation? Shouldn't NHS offer a test if there are big concerns regarding being exposed? Where should I go furthrer? I undetstood that even if I go private I cannot do if i do not have a referral from a specialist. Thank you.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jan 2019 - 12:25

      Hi Maria,
      I am unsure what you mean exactly when you say came into contact with, if you have touched raw meat and cat poo then this would not be a risk. Any risk would come from any ingestion of raw meat or anything that has come into contact with cat poo. As a routine, screening for toxo is not offered as part of antenatal care. The overall risk is very low. If you would like to talk about it further and provide a little more information then please do email us [email protected]
      Best wishes,
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Rita (not verified) on 5 Jan 2019 - 19:05

      I have received positive IGG level but low/negative igM. I have been travelling overseas in the past 3 months and I am 10 weeks pregnant. I didn’t have antibodies on my previous pregnancy 3 years ago. Are there any chances this could be a recent infection to conception? What further steps should I take? Many thanks for your advice.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jan 2019 - 09:28

      Hi Rita, Positive IGG indicates that you have immunity to toxoplasmosis which is a good thing. If your IGM is negative, this indicates that the infection was not recent. I would consult your doctor for confirmation. Best wishes

    • By Rebecca (not verified) on 31 Dec 2018 - 12:25

      Sadly I lost a baby in this way 10years ago, it was discovered at my 20 week scan that my baby had underdeveloped/damaged organs. I still mourn him 10 years on.
      When I had the toxoplasmosis I did notice symptoms but unfortunately the GP misdiagnosed me, so I did not become aware of it until after I had delivered my poor son.
      Anyone who is worried I would just like to say that I did have quite severely swollen glands including high up on the back of my neck, and I felt unwell enough to go to the doctor, so I think you would have some symptoms if you had caught it.
      Wish that more countries tested for immunity to this prior to pregnancy.

    • By EML (not verified) on 28 Dec 2018 - 16:31

      I started to eat a medium-rare steak today, but then thought better of it and sent it back to the kitchen to be cooked again. However, when I got it back, although the meat didn't look pink, there still seemed to be blood, but I didn't like to send it back again. Now having read this page, I really wonder if I shouldn't ask for a blood test in three week's time?
      Thank you for your kind advice.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jan 2019 - 09:33

      Hi, Unfortunately only you can make that call. Catching toxoplasmosis in this way would be very unlikely but if you are looking for certainty, the only way to know is to do a test.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Dec 2018 - 13:09

      Hi, while preparing Christmas Dinner my toddler managed to touch the turkey giblets and internal turkey packaging. Before I could help her wash her hands she had a weeing accident over us both. While I was trying to clean her up, before we'd washed her hands, she somehow accidentally put her hands in straight in my mouth. I'm 25 weeks and terrified of getting infected from the transference. What do I do now? Am I being overly paranoid?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jan 2019 - 09:39

      Yes, I do think that you are worrying too much. There is no good reason to believe that the turkey giblets were infected with toxoplasmosis. Try to get this into perspective and just practice good hand hygiene which is I am sure what you do already. Take care

    • By Ar (not verified) on 24 Dec 2018 - 19:53

      Hello i just come in direct contact with cat feaces recently because they poo on our mattress while im sleeping, i was immediately awake when i come and contact it cause its feels wet, my husband cleans it with tissue first then i immediatly wash my skin and my husband clean the faeces right away. Im 21 weeks. Im very worried, am i at risk?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Jan 2019 - 16:57

      Hi Ar,
      Unless you have ingested the faeces in anyway then you would not be at any risk. It is important to try to avoid this situation again though and practising regular hand washing and avoid the cat faeces.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Anne (not verified) on 16 Dec 2018 - 10:04

      Hi. Is it possible to get toxoplasmosis from hard surfaces? For example, floors being stepped on shoes that may have stepped on cat poo. I walked barefoot on our kitchen floor and accidentaly stepped on something sharp and cut myself. We often walked with shoes on the floor

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