Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. This parasite can not be seen with the naked eye. Although it is an infection rather than an illness you will experience symptoms such as fever, a feeling of lethargy and swollen glands. Once you have had toxoplasmosis, you cannot get it again.The body has then formed antibodies against the parasite. Many people have already experienced toxoplasmosis before, without having noticed this themselves. Yet it appears that about 45 percent of pregnant women do not have antibodies against toxoplasmosis.
The consequences for the unborn baby
If the mother contracts toxoplasmosis just before or during pregnancy, the baby can also get the infection via the placenta. In contrast to the pregnant woman, the baby is in danger. The baby can get serious abnormalities, for example on the nervous system and on the eyes. Often the problems only become apparent later. Should a pregnant woman have severe toxoplasmosis infection, medication can help. It is important that the infection is discovered as quickly as possible.
How do you get toxoplasmosis
It is quite known that the cat is the 'host' of this parasite. The parasite spreads through the droppings. This happens especially in young cats. If you first work in the garden or change the litter box without washing your hands afterwards, you give the parasite the opportunity to get into your body. Toxoplasmosis can also be caused by eating contaminated cows, sheep or pork that has not been thoroughly cooked. You do not get toxoplasmosis by touching cats or cattle.
What to do to prevent toxoplasmosis
It is better to be cautious an expectant mother to ensure that you do not come into contact with the feces of a cat. Using gloves is an option, but it is even better to have someone else change the litter box as long as you are pregnant. When the litter box is cleaned daily, you prevent the parasite from multiplying. Cats often do their needs in the garden, so it is important that you put on gloves when you work in the garden. Be careful with unwashed vegetables and do not eat raw meat (the toxoplasmosis parasite may be present in raw meat). The meat must be cooked through before it can be eaten. You should also leave sandwich spreads, for example tartar, filet American, raw roast beef or ox sausage, until after the delivery. It is also important that you pay attention to good hygiene in the kitchen.
If you have symptoms such as fever or rash, a feeling of lethargy, or a constant tired feeling, go to the doctor or midwife. This person can then carry out further research to determine whether there is toxoplasmosis. This is done through blood tests.
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