Toxoplasmosis

Diagnosis

Doctors can diagnose toxoplasmosis using laboratory tests to detect microscopic parasites in the blood, cerebrospinal fluid, amniotic fluid, placenta, lymph nodes, marrow bone or other body tissues.

But most often doctors request a blood test to measure the amount of antibodies (substances that are part of the immune system) against the toxoplasmosis parasites contained the patient's blood.

There is genetic testing to identify the DNA genes of toxoplasmosis parasites that have invaded a person's body. These tests are especially useful for analyzing amniotic fluid in order to detect congenital toxoplasmosis in fetuses. Obstetricians may use ultrasounds as a complement to make this diagnosis. However, these tests are not accurate at 100% and may give false positives (ie positive results in the absence of infection).

In infants, doctors ask mothers about aspects such as exposure to cats in the domestic environment, food or contaminated water. Babies can have ocular, auditory and nervous system tests, cerebrospinal fluid testing, or imaging tests for the brain to detect possible changes in the brain.

p> Unless the infected person has a weakened immune system or is pregnant, it is usually not necessary to treat it because of a toxoplasmosis infection. Symptoms (such as swollen lymph nodes) usually go away in a few weeks or months. Anyway, a child should always go to the doctor, because swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of other diseases.

Children born with congenital toxoplasmosis are treated with different drug combinations against toxoplasmosis, usually throughout the first year of life. A specialist will decide which medications to use and for how long.

In older children who develop serious toxoplasmosis infections, treatment usually lasts 4 to 6 weeks (or at least 2 weeks after remission of symptom). Children with weakened immune systems often require hospitalization when developing toxoplasmosis, and those with AIDS may need to take toxoplasmosis medication for life.