Symptoms of toxoplasmosis

In most cases, toxoplasmosis doesn't cause any symptoms and the person isn't aware they'reinfected.

This is because the immune system isnormally strong enough to fight the infection and stop it causing serious illness.

However, some people will develop flu-like symptoms. There's alsoa risk of more serious problems ifa woman becomes infected while she's pregnant, or if someone with a weak immune system becomes infected.

Flu-like symptoms

About 10-20% of people infected with toxoplasmosis will develop symptoms similar to Bird 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

These symptoms are usually mild and will normally pass within a few weeks.

Problems in pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis can beserious if a woman becomes infected while she's pregnant or a few weeks before conceiving. This isbecause there's a chance the infection could be passed to her baby.

However, the risk of getting toxoplasmosisduringpregnancy is very low. In the UK, it's estimated that less than 5 in every 1,000 pregnant women will become infected for the first time.

A woman won't usually have any symptoms if she becomes infected during pregnancy, but if the infection spreads to her baby, it can cause:

  • miscarriage
  • stillbirth
  • congenital toxoplasmosis where the babydevelops toxoplasmosis while they're developing in the womb

Congenital toxoplasmosis can cause serious problems that are either noticeable from birth or develop several months or years later, such asbrain damage, hearing loss and vision problems.

Problems in people with weak immune systems

Toxoplasmosis can cause serious problems and belife-threateningfor someone with a weakened immune systemas their body may not be able to fight off the infection.

Your immune systemmay be weakened if you:

  • have an illness that affects your immune system, such as HIV and AIDS or some types of cancer
  • are having chemotherapy
  • are taking immunosuppressant medication for example, after havingan organ transplant

If your immune system is weak, the infection could spread to organs such as the eyes, heart, lungs and brain. This can cause problems such as headaches , confusion, poor co-ordination, seizures (fits), difficulty breathing and vision problems.

Readabout the complications oftoxoplasmosis for more information.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 29 Nov 2016