TOXOPLASMOSIS AND PREGNANCY
Toxoplasmosis is one of five infections that carry a frightening TORCH prefix. What is this disease and why should it be feared pregnant?
What is TORCH infection?
TORCH is an abbreviation in which the letter T is toxoplasmosis, O is from English others, that is, other infections (syphilis, hepatitis A, and B, chlamydia), R-rubella, it is rubella, C is cytomegalic, i.e. cytomegalovirus and H – herpes simplex – all known herpes. And the doctors dumped all these diseases in one heap, not by accident. Despite the differences in the symptoms and the course of the diseases, all these ailments have one thing in common – they blossom against the background of reduced immunity and pose an increased threat to the life of the fetus in the womb.
Who is the carrier of toxoplasmosis?
For some reason, it is customary to think that it is possible to catch toxoplasmosis only from cats. However, the carriers of this disease can be dogs, as well as pigs, cows, sheep and other domestic and wild animals (total over 300 species). Then why do all the “stones” fall on cats? Yes, because in the intestine of the cat this unicellular parasite most actively multiplies. As a result, with unusually persistent oocysts (parasite eggs), the urine and feces of the animal being released into the environment. Given the habit of cats licking their fur, it’s not hard to guess where else toxoplasm from the intestine can migrate. However, doctors believe that getting infected with toxoplasmosis is much more likely for fans of steaks with blood, as well as for owners who are used to taste the raw meat.
Symptoms of a disease:
- enlarged lymph nodes;
- weakness, sleep disturbance, worsening of appetite;
- increased spleen and liver;
- in acute disease, high fever, vomiting, convulsions;
- with chronic toxoplasmosis: pain in the muscles and joints, spasmodic fever, headaches, chills.
Than toxoplasmosis is dangerous?
For a healthy person, toxoplasmosis poses no danger, since it often occurs in a mild form, often invisible to the patient. But for people with reduced immunity, it is dangerous, as it can go into a chronic form and stealthily undermine the internal organs (heart, lungs, stomach, liver). But still, the most dangerous infection is toxoplasma for pregnant women. The fact that during pregnancy, maternal immunity is significantly reduced and the parasite can freely settle in the body, and eventually slip through the placenta and infect the embryo, causing severe damage to its internal organs, and sometimes the death of the baby. However, this is only possible if the woman first encountered toxoplasma before the 12th week of pregnancy, which is quite rare, in about 1% of cases.
Considering that toxoplasmosis often takes place in a latent form, it is possible to detect the disease only with the help of serological tests. With their help, you can tell exactly whether there is a parasite in the body and whether there are antibodies to it. If there are no antibodies, then the woman has never encountered this pathogen before, and consequently, she automatically falls into the risk group. That is why, during pregnancy, she will have several more times to take repeated tests.
If immunoglobulins G (IgG) are found in the blood, then toxoplasma has already been in the body, but immunity has successfully coped with it, which will no longer allow the parasite to host on its territory.
If, in addition to IgG indices in the blood, IgM antibodies are also detected, then this indicates that the parasite was in the body at the time of the analysis. How it will behave further and how immunity will respond to it, will show further studies of titers (the number of immunoglobulins). If in the next three weeks the number of IgG titers will grow 4 times, this indicates that the disease has penetrated the placenta to the child. But this is not a verdict. To assess the degree of threat to the health and life of the child, a pregnant woman is carefully examined (ultrasound, amniotic fluid, puncture of the umbilical cord, PCR). If the results are unfavorable, a decision is made to terminate the pregnancy.
Treatment of toxoplasmosis is usually not required. As for pregnant women, they can be treated only after 16 weeks of pregnancy. As for HIV-infected people and other people with impaired immunity, the need and method of treatment in each case is determined by the infectious disease doctor, who is in every clinic.
How to prevent a disease?
Avoid contact with unfamiliar cats and dogs.
If the fluffy beast lives with you, do not kiss it, and after cleaning it, be sure to wear gloves (even if you just decided to wash the bowl from which your pet is eating)
Toksoplazmu can pick up and dig in the garden (do not forget about gloves), as well as picking berries and fruits from the ground (carefully wash them before eating).
When processing raw meat in the kitchen, be sure to wash your hands (with soap) afterward, as well as the knife and the cutting board.
Do not eat poorly roasted meat and even more so do not try raw salt.