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Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis

A single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasma infection is common worldwide. Cats shed the pathogen in their feces, and other animals and people can be infected by ingesting food, water or other media contaminated with cat feces. In addition, people can get infected by eating raw or undercooked meat of infected animals. Most people infected with Toxoplasma either have no signs or symptoms of illness or experience a brief period of mild illness that resolves without therapy. However, pregnant women who become infected can pass the organism to their fetus, and persons with weakened immune systems can experience serious disease after infection or activation of a previously latent infection. Signs of severe illness include loss of vision, neurologic signs (fever, headache, seizures), developmental abnormalities (congenital infection), or heart disease.