PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. In pregnant women and persons who are immune compromised, toxoplasmosis can cause serious health problems.
How is Toxoplasmosis spread?
- Eating undercooked, contaminated meat (especially pork, lamb, and venison).
- Eating food prepared with contaminated knives, kitchen utensils, and cutting boards.
- Drinking water contaminated with Toxoplasma.
- Cats are a primary reservoir of Toxoplasma gondii. People may accidentally swallow the parasite by coming in contact with contaminated cat feces while changing the cat litter, or by touching or eating anything that has come in contact with contaminated cat feces.
- Passing it from mother to baby during pregnancy.
How is it treated?
Healthy persons who are not pregnant do not usually need treatment.
How can Toxoplasmosis be prevented?
- Cook food to safe temperatures.
- Beef, lamb, veal roasts and steaks should be 145°F throughout.
- Pork, ground meat, and wild game should be cooked to 160°F.
- Whole chickens should be cooked to 180°F.
- Peel and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, utensils, and hands with hot soapy water after
contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
- Freeze meat for several days before cooking to reduce the chances of infection.
- Wear gloves when gardening because of the possible exposure to cat feces.
SYMPTOMS OF TOXOPLASMOSIS
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph glands