T. gondii


(T. gondii)

A single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. While the parasite is found throughout the world, it is believed more than 60 million people in the United States may be infected with the Toxoplasma parasite.

The tick species pictured below and pathogens transmitted by them are a significant threat to human and animal health.

1st Photo

Ixodes texanus - University of Wisconsin- Madison

2nd Photo

Male Ixodes texanus- Georgia Southern University

Toxoplasma gondii can be found in cat feces and undercooked meat, especially venison, lamb, and pork. It can also be transmitted through contaminated water, through a blood transfusion and during an organ transplant.

Toxoplasmosis can be deadly or cause serious birth defects for a fetus if the mother becomes infected. This is why doctors recommend against pregnant woman scooping or cleaning cat litter boxes.

Symptoms may be mild or serious in a fetus. Toxoplasmosis in an unborn baby can be life-threatening for the baby soon after birth.

Most newborns with congenital toxoplasmosis may appear normal at birth, but can develop signs and symptoms as they age. It’s particularly important to check for involvement in the baby's brain and eyes.

If you have an active infection while pregnant you may need to test your amniotic fluid and the fetus’ blood.

If your fetus is diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, you should be referred to a specialist and genetic counseling may also be appropriate. The option of ending the pregnancy may be offered as a possibility. If you continue the pregnancy, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to help reduce your baby’s risk of symptoms.

According to the CDC, over 60 million people in the United States are infected with the parasite. The people who are most at risk for serious infections are those with compromised immune systems and infants born to mothers with active infection during their pregnancy.


Information on the CDC Website is over 4 years old. It basically says no big deal and no treatment usually needed. Where have we heard that before?

Symptoms similar to flu or glandular fever, such as:

  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or over
  • aching muscles
  • tiredness
  • feeling sick
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • brain inflammation, causing headaches, seizures, confusion and coma.
  • a lung infection, causing cough, fever, and shortness of breath
  • an eye infection, causing blurry vision and eye pain


Toxoplasma is diagnosed by serology, however, you should not use PCR because toxoplasma is encysted in tissues.


Typiocally the treatment is pyrimethamine, aka Daraprim (anti-parasitic medication) and sulfadiazine (antibiotic) in combination.

Conversational Notes From

Medical Professionals

Toxoplasmosis is not rare in the population, but it is more frequent in schizophrenic people.

Toxoplasmosis has a bad effect on bipolar disorder.

Some test for Toxoplasmosis at LabCorp for IgG. In neuropsychiatric patients it is relevant, particularly patients with severe symptoms including rage and psychosis.

Some doctors are treating patients with Azithromycin for at least a month.

Last Update- October 2019

Lucy Barnes