How Toxoplasmosis Cause During Pregnancy?
Toxoplasmosis is a rare parasitic infection. It can additionally occur for the duration of pregnancy and can get transmitted to the unborn toddler inflicting serious health side effects. However, studying how to realize the signs of contamination and timely assessments can stop this ailment in the course of pregnancy.
What Does Toxoplasmosis Mean?
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by the Toxoplasma gondii organism. The infection does not cause any apparent symptoms in adults with a healthy immune system and it is estimated that at any given time up to half of the world’s population is infected with it (but show no symptoms).
In instances that do become apparent, the affected person experiences slight flu-like symptoms, tender or inflamed lymph nodes, muscle pains and eye problems. Those with a weakened immune system and pregnant ladies are most susceptible to catching the infection. In the former, extreme signs and symptoms such as negative coordination, confusion, bother breathing and seizures might also occur. In pregnant women, it should lead to a condition referred to as congenital toxoplasmosis that may additionally have an effect on the baby.
You can come in contact with the parasite in more than a few methods, along with cat poop, undercooked contaminated meat improperly washed utensils used to deal with contaminated meat and ingesting contaminated water. The parasite spreads via its cysts that can exist dormant in the surrounding for many months till ingested. Toxoplasmosis can get transmitted from a pregnant mom to her toddler however doesn’t get transmitted from a person to person unless there is a case of blood transfusion or organ transplant involved.
Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis in Pregnancy?
There may be no immediately visible symptoms of toxoplasmosis in a large number of cases involving healthy adults with strong immunity. But if you got infected, after two to three weeks, the signs would appear and involve the following symptoms:
- A fever that exceeds 100.4F
- Aching muscles
- General flu-like symptoms
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Causes Of Toxoplasmosis in Pregnant Women
Infections with toxoplasmosis occur when you ingest the infection’s cysts unknowingly causing parasite through food, water or even poor hygiene. Half of these infections are estimated to occur from eating infected raw or undercooked meat. Lamb, pork, and game meat may contain the body’s parasite in the form of tissue cysts that may be infectious if the meat is undercooked. If you drink unpasteurized goat’s milk or cheese, eat unwashed fruits and vegetables, or touch your nose, mouth, or eyes after handling contaminated media such as soil, water, or cat litter, the cysts can also make it into your body.
Although this parasite may be contained by all warm-blooded animals, cats are the main host of these disease-causing agents. By eating an infected rodent or contaminated meat, a pet cat owned by a pregnant woman may become infected with the parasite. In their intestines, the parasites reproduce and form’ oocysts’ that are excreted along with the feces. Kittens are the most sensitive of all to this and can excrete millions of such oocysts for three weeks, with no sign of infection in most cases. After 24 hours, oocysts become infectious and can remain infectious for up to 18 months. In this period, they can contaminate water systems, fruit, vegetables, and meat. Therefore, handling cat litter or gardening during pregnancy puts you at high risk of infection.
Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy Treatment
Because toxoplasmosis does not cause major problems for most people, if the infected person’s immune system is healthy and strong, there is no treatment needed. However, the chances of transferring the parasite to her baby for pregnant women are quite high, so it is treated with antibiotics. The doctor may prescribe an antibiotic called Spiramycin in cases where the unborn baby shows no sign of the infection. In cases where the baby is infected, following the 16th week of pregnancy, the doctor may recommend sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine. Also, in cases where the amniotic fluid is infected and an ultrasound provides confirmation of an issue, the mother can consult a specialist and also seek further advice from a genetic counselor. The termination of pregnancy is also an option depending on the baby’s gestational age.
Risks And Complications Of Health Related To Toxoplasmosis
Infection with toxoplasmosis can pose a risk to the unborn child. The parasite may travel through the placenta causing a condition called congenital toxoplasmosis to infect the baby. Although this is a rare condition, the risk factor mainly depends on the stage/time the mother was infected during her pregnancy. The earlier the infection is contracting and caught, the more serious the baby’s effects are. Miscarriage and stillbirth are common as critical developmental processes occur at this stage after the effects of congenital toxoplasmosis during early pregnancy. A second-trimester infection can lead to complications such as:
- Brain damage caused by brain water (hydrocephalus)
- Eyes & other organs damage
Most infants that get infected later into the pregnancy are much less affected due to the fact most of the crucial organs have developed and show no obvious signs of the infection at birth. They may additionally later enhance the signs and symptoms as they grow, and have problems such as:
- Mental retardation and learning difficulties due to brain damage.
- Problem in hearing
- Eyes damaged
Approximately half of the untreated maternal infections are transmitted to the baby, according to one study in India. Of those transmitted to the fetus, 60% show no symptoms, 30% showed severe damage, and 9% lead to death.
Prevention Of Toxoplasmosis During Pregnancy
A few simple hints when accompanied can notably decrease your chances of contracting a toxoplasmosis infection for the duration of your pregnancy. Some of them are as follows:
A few simple hints when observed can extensively minimize your possibilities of contracting a toxoplasmosis infection all through your pregnancy. Some of them are as follows:
- Pay Attention to Personal Hygiene: Personal hygiene is the key to keep away from all infections. Thoroughly wash your palms earlier than making ready or handling food. The cooking utensils need to be cleaned completely as well.
- Check Meat Storage: Freezing meat for numerous days will lower the probabilities of infection.
Ensure You, Cook, Your Meals Properly: Heat kills parasites and cysts consequently it is necessary to cook meat well to take away the possibilities of infection.
- Avoid Certain Types of Poultry: Avoid smoked or salt-cured meats such as salami and Parma ham until they are steamed well.
- Check Milk Before Consumption: Do not drink unpasteurized goat milk or eat products made from it.
- Be Careful While Cooking Meat: While dealing with meat, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Wear gloves if possible to shield any cuts on sores on the hands.
- Wash Your Utensils: Keep the cooking counter, utensils and different meals dealing with equipment clean through washing them with hot soapy water.
- Avoid Cleaning Cat Feces: If you have a cat, keep away from cleansing its litter container and let other family members do it.
- Avoid Getting a New Kitty Home: Do no longer undertake a new kitten during pregnancy as kittens pass the oocysts in the first 6 months of their life
- Wear Proper Protective Gear: If you do need to clean up cat litter, wear tough gloves and wash your hands entirely afterward..
Although the chances of getting infected by toxoplasmosis are rare during pregnancy, it’s best to follow precautions to avoid any chances of infection to stay on the safe side.
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