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

  • By Jess (not verified) on 22 Apr 2018 - 20:00

    Hi,
    I handled raw steak and then accidentally touched my lips before washing my hands. Is this enough of a concern to go to the GP do you think? Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Apr 2018 - 15:58

    Hi Jess, If you want reassurance that you have not been exposed to toxoplasmosis from the steak, you could get a test done. Just arrange to see your GP when available. Take care x

  • By Hanna (not verified) on 18 Apr 2018 - 05:24

    Dear, i am having my first pregnancy, i did the blood tests on week 8 and everything is fine but toxo iGg was positive with > 300 and iGm positive 2.87. As per my doctor advice, i repeated the test on week 10 (yesterday), again same result with no noticeable change iGg > 300 and iGm 2.84, we are worried as the doctor couldn’t have sharp answers.
    Today i am repeating the test in another lab and will see the results, the dr asked to take in all cases an antibiotic and let us pray for the results, kindly advise as where i am there is no huge choice of drs. Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Apr 2018 - 12:59

    Hi Hanna,
    I am sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult and uncertain time in this pregnancy. Generally, a rising iGg level is more of a concern than an IgG level that is staying consistent, so it is reassuring that yours has not appeared to have risen. You also have a positive result for IgM, this indicates a possible infection but does not diagnose an infection for definite. If your further testing identifies an infection then you would be started on antibiotics to help to prevent the infection going across to your baby. I am unsure where you live, however in the UK you would be referred to the fetal medicine unit for follow up and further testing, usually an amniocentesis to see if the baby has been infected, this would normally be done from about 20 weeks.
    I hope this helps, any further questions then please email us [email protected]
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By Rana (not verified) on 15 Apr 2018 - 09:27

    Hello My name is Rana, i had the toxoplasma in my second pregnancy and Saddly we had to miscarriage the baby ( 2 yeas ago ) . and now i am pregnant again, when i did the IGG and IGM tests its shows that i still have an infection .
    the IGG result was 97.3 and the IGm was 1.79 .. what should i do now ?? is it normal ?? is there is any risk on the baby ? please advice. thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Apr 2018 - 15:59

    Hello Rana,
    Sorry to hear about this and can understand your confusion. Usually if both IgM and IgG are positive it indicates a chronic infection or could indicate re-activation of the infection. However, the IgM could be positive for several months after an infection has resolved.
    It is possible for false positives to occur so I would suggest that you have the test confirmed by a different method. Your GP can send the sample to a reference lab that specialises in toxoplasmosis screening. This would give a full picture. Please then discuss the results with your obstetrician. Hope this helps

  • By Emma (not verified) on 14 Apr 2018 - 17:57

    I had a scan at 33 weeks to see if my placenta had moved as it was low lying. On my scan the sonographer commented that our baby had a small head (just on the fifth percentile). She said she was not concerned at at all but when she handed me the baby the dot was barely on the scale. This has triggered my health anxiety in a big way. I looked up causes for microcephaly and one was toxo. I’ve looked up what causes this and one rodk is cured meat. I did not realise this and ate s slice of my husbands palma ham in Italy. I am so scared I’ve given my baby toxo. I discussed this with my midwife and she just asked what toxo does to a baby and it’s unlikely. What shall I do?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Apr 2018 - 15:46

    Hi Emma, if you think that you could be at risk of Toxoplasmosis you can request a screening blood test from your GP or midwife. This will see whether you have ever been exposed to Toxoplasmosis and if so was it recent?
    However, the measurement of your baby's head does not sound abnormal and from the way you describe the sonographer did not diagnose microcephaly. The measurement may be slightly wrong or the baby may have a slightly smaller head than others but still be completely normal. If it was within normal range then it is still normal. I hope this puts your mind at rest. Take care x

  • By Emma (not verified) on 17 Apr 2018 - 13:43

    Thank you for replying. I did go and ask the gp yesterday but she said it was too specialist for them so I now need to wait a week until I can see a doctor at the hospital.

  • By Marie (not verified) on 10 Apr 2018 - 21:28

    Hi, I just found your site doing so much research on this issue. This is my second pregnancy and never thought of it during my first because I didn’t know about it then. Now that I do, I’m terrified. I don’t have a cat and I don’t garden, but a few weeks ago my son brought home a small plant he helped grow in school. The soil and small plant were in a plastic cup and I held the cup and put it into one of my cup holders because we had to drive back home. Soon After that, I read more and more up on this and am so worried! I don’t remember touching any soil, but am worried if somehow it got residue in my car now. Every time after I drive I constantly wash my hands because I’m so worried. I’m guessing it’s bagged soil because it was a project done in school, but so worried still.! I brought it up to my doctor, but she just said not to worry. I still am tho and still considering still getting tested because I’ve been a nervous wreck.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Apr 2018 - 09:17

    Hi Marie
    I do think you are worrying yourself unnecessarily. I am sure that you have read all of the information above regarding Toxoplasmosis and so are now aware of the ways in which transmission is possible. It is very likely that the soil was "pre bagged" and therefore your risk is even smaller. Washing your hands with soap and water kills the bacteria anyway so you have done all of the right things. If you continue to worry about toxoplasmosis and you feel that this is affecting your mental health, then you could request the blood test, but you do often have to pay for it as many NHS trusts and GP surgeries do not have the funding for it. Your risk of transmission of Toxoplasmosis sounds almost impossible from what you have described but if you wish to go through this in depth over the phone, please do call us on 0800 0147800 to further put your mind at ease.
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Louise (not verified) on 9 Apr 2018 - 17:40

    Hello
    I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and I work as a vet nurse.
    We had a cat in last week that I was nursing and wasn’t told by the vet she was concerned it had toxo nor did she tell me the bloods had been sent off. Once the test came back positive toxoplasmosis for the cat the vet then told me. I then began to panic and called my gp who sent me for a blood test the next day. I did not wear gloves when handing this cat but I do always wash my hands. What are the chances of me catching toxo and the risks?
    Also do you think my doctor has sent me for a blood test too early? Would you recommend me having another in 2 weeks time?

    Many Thanks
    Louise

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Apr 2018 - 13:12

    Hi Louise. Please try not to worry too much about this. But i do understand why you are concerned. Usually, it is best to have bloods taken 2-3 weeks after the possible contact, so it might be useful to have them repeated in the near future.
    I know that you must have read our information page on this above and please feel free to call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to go through this in any more detail over the phone- we get these questions and calls a lot.
    All the best!
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Susie (not verified) on 9 Apr 2018 - 05:25

    I am in the US at present. Yesterday we went to a family wedding. We'd had to specify whether we wanted beef or salmon beforehand. The groom (my brother-in-law) didn't seem to know if it was smoked salmon or not, but said that the beef would be well-cooked. On the outside it was OK, but inside it was pink (not bloody). We had no Internet access until afterwards, so I couldn't check the NHS website for the latest recommendations on what is safe to eat. I am utterly devastated that I have put my baby at risk. I don't know what to do. I am not back in the UK until next weekend. I am 18/40 at present. I am grateful for any advice.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Apr 2018 - 13:02

    Hi Susie
    I do understand your concern but please try not to worry. When you are home from the U.S you should go to your GP and tell them that you may have been exposed to Toxoplasmosis and they will send for a blood test (sometimes you may need to pay for this service) to check both your historical and current infection status. Whilst i think that your risk is very low of contracting toxoplasmosis from some pink ish beef, i feel that it would be worth getting the test done - mostly for your peace of mind. The test is best taken 2-3 weeks after possible exposure to get the most accurate results, so there is no rush to get this done. So this would be about right time wise! If you wish to speak to us in more detail about this, please call us on 0800 0147800
    All the best, Sophie (Tommy's Midwife)

  • By Anon (not verified) on 5 Apr 2018 - 20:00

    Hello. I have asked my GP for toxoplasmosis testing in the first trimester because I’m worried about exposure with keeping our outdoor kitten and would like to confirm my immune status or rehome the kitten. They are refusing. Is it common for GPS to refuse screening?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Apr 2018 - 10:52

    Hi,
    Unless you feel that there has been an event which has put you at risk then a GP would likely refuse to test for toxoplasmosis, if request that it was just due to you having a kitten, regardless if they are an outdoor or indoor pet. Instead it is advised that you follow the guidance as mentioned in this article about cleaning litter trays etc. to protect yourself. There is no reason that you need to have the kitten rehomed, it is safe to have a pet cat.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives.

  • By Harriet Mclean (not verified) on 3 Apr 2018 - 08:42

    I have Congenital toxo that affects my left eye, however i am struggling to find any information on whether i could potentially pass this over to my baby if it reactivates whilst pregnant. I also have an immunity problem which may increase my chance of it becoming active again.
    Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Apr 2018 - 10:47

    Hi Harriet,
    The concern is when a woman contracts toxoplasmosis for the first time either just before conception or during pregnancy, this is when the unborn baby is potentially at risk. If your toxo was to reactivate this would not be a primary infection therefore not thought to be a risk to an unborn baby. However you mention that you do have an immunity problem, so this may or may not be relevant. If you are planning a pregnancy this it seems it may be a good idea to speak with your GP and if they are unsure then they can refer to a fetal medicine specialist for advice regarding your medical history.
    Best wishes, Tommy's midwives x

  • By Anna (not verified) on 18 Mar 2018 - 16:41

    Hi,

    I ate a sausage yesterday and I thought I saw some slight pink bits in it. I am 6 weeks pregnant and so so worried now. I will see my doctor this week to discuss but do you think I am at risk?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Mar 2018 - 13:59

    Hi Anna, Although we advise against eating raw or undercooked meats, in reality the risk is low. However, if you believe that you have eaten some raw meat you may like to discuss with your doctor and have a blood test. As this information explains, it takes time for your body to make the antibodies so there is no benefit in testing too early. Hope this helps. Tommy's midwife

  • By Roro (not verified) on 17 Mar 2018 - 18:06

    Hi i just find out i am pregnant and we bought a cat 10 days ago. The pb is that my cat has diarrhea i have to clean his litter box and everywhere he poos and to wash him since his leg get dirty with poo. I always wash my hand after but i am worrying that he might have shed some unnoticeable feeces stuck to his legs and butt around when runing around the house before i wash him. Can these unnoticeable feeces cause toxoplasmosis??

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Mar 2018 - 12:57

    The only way to confirm that you have not been affected is to do a toxoplasmosis screen in about 3 weeks. Your GP will be able to arrange this for you. In the meantime please use gloves when cleaning the litter tray and wash your hands with soap and water after. Also if the cat is still unwell it may be best to get some advice from your vet.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Mar 2018 - 08:34

    Hi im pregnant 30 and 3 day I do blood test for tox if it is positive what gunna happiness if they infected pass to the baby I mean what gunna happin to my baby thanks x

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2018 - 13:28

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    If the toxoplasmosis test comes back as positive it all depends if this is a past exposure or recent. If you have already had Toxoplasmosis in the past then you will be immune and this immunity will be passed on to your baby. If this is a current infection then you will need to be given antibiotics for the infection and you will have closer monitoring in pregnancy. Your baby will also be monitored at birth and if any treatment is needed then your Drs with be able to discuss this with you. If you read the following link on the Tommy's website it has all the information about what happens to baby if Toxoplasmosis in contracted in pregnancy and what treatment is available https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/infections-pregnancy/toxoplasmosis-pregnancy
    Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Mar 2018 - 14:13

    Thank you for answer i do blood test for tox in early pregnancy it was negative it is that meant am not get tox it in the past

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Mar 2018 - 14:02

    Yes if the test is negative you do not have antibodies and have not contracted Toxoplasmosis in the past.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Mar 2018 - 20:57

    Hi yesterday I go to play ground with my dughter and I see poo front of the door of the play ground it is possible to cat poo becoues what I see the cat alwaye caver the poo in the soil please answer

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Mar 2018 - 10:04

    I can't say whether this is cat poo or not, but as long as you take precautions and don't touch the poo there is no risk to yourself or your baby.

  • By Kat (not verified) on 10 Mar 2018 - 09:27

    Hi there,
    I went to an open farm with my toddler and fed lambs and calves. I have since read that I should avoid sheep and lambs during lambing season. I am 11 weeks pregnant, am I now at risk from having fed these animals?
    I did wash my hands but the nearest wash station wasn’t working so it was about an hour later.
    Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Mar 2018 - 09:49

    Hi, We do advise pregnant women to stay away from lambs, however, remember that the risk of being exposed to toxoplasmosis is still small. You may like to discuss with your GP or midwife and request a toxoplasmosis screen to be sure. This is best done 3 weeks after possible exposure as it takes time for antibodies to be detectable in the blood.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Mar 2018 - 13:30

    Hi I do blood test for tox and the result is negative is that mean I’m not infected by tox or this mean I have antibiotic in my blood to protect my baby

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Mar 2018 - 15:48

    A negative result means that you have not been infected with toxoplasmosis.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Mar 2018 - 20:29

    Thank you I have a question about it is 2 week enough to show infection in blood or I need 3 week to show the infection in the blood

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Mar 2018 - 09:41

    It can take up to 3 weeks for the antibodies to be detectable in the blood although for some women this may be sooner.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Mar 2018 - 18:26

    Hi I have questions is that antibiotics in our body protecting the baby if we get infection by tox in pregnancy time and every body have antibiotics to protect body or the baby in pregnancy time if we get infected

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Mar 2018 - 14:09

    No, We produce antibodies when we have been infected by any disease to protect ourselves from being infected again.

  • By Jane (not verified) on 7 Mar 2018 - 22:19

    Hello, I live in a communal block and my neighbours have a cat.. we share the door to exsit and I'm curious to no if they change the litter tray and then open the door by the handle without cleaning their hands and then I touch the handle am I then at risk? I my neighbours are not the most considerate pleasant people so I can't ask. Them to reframe for doing this....this situation is is very uncomfortable for me so your advice is appreciated

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Mar 2018 - 15:34

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    It is highly unlikely that you would contract toxoplasmosis from the door handle, and your neighbours would hopefully be washing their hands after cleaning out their cats. As long as you maintain good hand hygiene after using the door then your risk of ingesting anything is the lowest it could possibly be. If you are still concerned then you can always speak to your GP or midwife for further reassurance. Hope this has helped to reassured you a little. Take Care Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Sarah (not verified) on 6 Mar 2018 - 15:49

    Hi can you get this from dog poop?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2018 - 09:52

    Hi Sarah,
    No- only cat faeces
    All the best
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Ron (not verified) on 5 Mar 2018 - 16:47

    I'm curious to no how many people actually have got this and passed it to the unborn baby relisistcly ? also can you confirm that you can't catch it by walking past the cat feces on the path?would you need to physically basically eat it?, or by opening doors of communal areas? If you this is a very worrying thing to Learn about in early pregnancy

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Mar 2018 - 15:18

    Hi Ron,
    I understand that contracting toxoplasmosis for the first time in pregnancy sounds extremely worrying. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. While many of us will be infected at some time in our lives it rarely has any implications and we only really take extra precautions when we are pregnant. It is estimated that 2000 women get Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy each year in the UK. This does not mean that the baby will get toxoplasmosis. Only 4 in 10 infections will be passed to the growing baby. We advise against eating uncooked meat including cured meats like salami but in reality the risk is extremely small.
    In regards to getting toxoplasmosis you would have to physically eat infected cat faeces. You would not catch it from walking past it or opening doors of communal areas.
    I hope this helps for more information go to our link.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/pregnancy-complications/infections-pregnancy/toxoplasmosis-pregnancy
    Warm wishes
    Anna-Tommy's Midwife

  • By Lou (not verified) on 2 Mar 2018 - 18:44

    Can you get it from breathing in dry dirt dust from shakeing out a door mat? I can't relax since I heard about this considering how many cats wonder around :(

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Mar 2018 - 13:10

    Hi Lou,
    I am so sorry to hear that you are so anxious and can't relax due to concerns about toxoplasmosis. You cannot get toxoplasmosis through breathing in dust from shaking out the door mat, even if a cat had been on the mat. If your anxieties continue then please do talk with your midwife who can support you. Best wishes, Tommy's midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Feb 2018 - 21:16

    Hi I have another question did every woman pregnat have antibodies to protect the baby from tox

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2018 - 15:14

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    In the UK, women are only treated with antibiotics if a current infection of Toxoplasmosis has been detected in pregnancy and then they will received additional monitoring in pregnancy. If you are concerned about Toxoplasmosis, please contact your midwife or GP who will be able to advice you further.
    Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Feb 2018 - 15:20

    And as you say it is extremely rare to infect my baby thank you for your advice is that true

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Feb 2018 - 15:18

    And as you say it is extremely rare to infect my baby thank you for your advice is that true

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Feb 2018 - 15:15

    Hi I read you comment when you side 1% of cat in the uk became infected with tox this very small I was to worry about it but know I feel little bit relax because I don't have a cat I just worry about if the caming bye me or my family shoes but it's very rare that's happened

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