Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that is widely prevalent ain humans and animals
throughout the world. The life cycle of the parasite is complex, but can only be
completed in cats, which are the definitive hosts and excrete resistant oocysts
in their faeces. Oocysts can infect virtually all warm-blooded animals and human
infection occurs either directly by ingesting substances contaminated with cat faeces
or indirectly by ingesting undercooked infected meat of species which have themselves
become infected from cats. An infected pregnant woman can congenitally infect her
unborn child, but other than this, there is no person-to-person spread.
Main clinical features
Many infections are asymptomatic. In congenitally infected children there may be
mental retardation and loss of vision. The infection can cause severe disease in
immunocompromised patients, such as those suffering from AIDS, characterised by
encephalitis which can be fatal.
10 - 25 days
Voluntary laboratory reports.
Annual Surveillance Tables