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Health Information For Parents
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a tiny parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This one-celled parasite is most common in cats, but humans and other animals also can get infected.
Anyone can get toxoplasmosis (tok-so-plaz-MOE-sis). Experts think that millions of people in the United States are infected with T. gondii. But most have no symptoms because their immune systems are healthy and keep the parasite from causing harm.
Toxoplasmosis is most serious for:
When someone gets toxoplasmosis, the parasite remains in the body for life. It’s usually not a problem, though. In most cases, people don’t even know they’re infected because they don’t have any symptoms.
When kids do have symptoms, they will vary depending on a child’s age and how well their immune system works:
In otherwise healthy children, toxoplasmosis can look like the flu or mono. Symptoms can include:
Babies with congenital toxoplasmosis often don’t have any symptoms at birth. But problems might show up months or years later. They can range from mild to severe:
The most severe cases of congenital toxoplasmosis happen when the mom is infected early in the pregnancy. This can lead to miscarriage or the baby might be born early or very small.
Kids with weakened immune systems can have all the symptoms listed above, as well as problems with their lungs and heart. Many of these kids also have inflammation in the brain (encephalitis).
People can catch toxoplasmosis from:
To find out if someone has toxoplasmosis, doctors ask about exposure to household cats or contaminated food or water sources. They also might do tests to check for:
Treatment for toxoplasmosis varies based on a child’s age and general health. Otherwise healthy kids don’t usually need medicine, since toxoplasmosis goes away on its own in a few weeks or months. Babies with congenital toxoplasmosis and kids with weakened immune systems will need to take anti-parasite medicine.
To help prevent toxoplasmosis in your family:
If you have a cat:
Call your doctor if your child has symptoms of toxoplasmosis, especially if your child:
If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, call your doctor right away if you notice even one swollen gland, especially if you’ve been around cats or ate raw or undercooked meat.
Kids can benefit from the companionship, affection, and relationships they share with pets. But it’s important to know how to protect your family from infections carried by pets and other animals.
Toxocara are common parasites of dogs and cats. When they infect humans, the illness is called toxocariasis.
Washing your hands is the best way to stop germs from spreading. Learn all about the best way to wash your hands in this article for kids.
Did you know that the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands? If you don’t wash your hands frequently, you can pick up germs from other sources and then infect yourself.
Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen and the foods you prepare in it are safe?
These bacterial infections can cause diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever. Good hand-washing and food safety habits can help prevent them.
Yersiniosis is an uncommon infection caused by the consumption of undercooked meat products, unpasteurized milk, or water contaminated by the bacteria.
Parents can help prevent HIV/AIDS by learning the facts and talking with their kids regularly about healthy behaviors, feelings, and sexuality.
During your pregnancy, you’ll probably get advice from everyone. But staying healthy depends on you – read about the many ways to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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