Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Cats are the definitive host for the organism although many warm-blooded animal species can be infected as intermediate hosts.

Infection can be acquired through

  • contact with infected cat faeces
  • eating infected meat

People most at risk include:

  • pregnant women who can pass congenital toxoplasmosis on to their unborn child
  • those with weakened immune systems

After an infected sheep has given birth, the T. gondii parasite is sometimes found in the afterbirth, as well as on newborn lambs. As a result, there's a small risk of toxoplasmosis infection passing from sheep to people during lambing season.

Advice for pregnant women to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis infection is available by visiting the NHS Inform website.

Information on the symptoms is available on the NHS website.


View the 'The prevalence and genotypic analysis of Toxoplasma gondii from individuals in Scotland, 2006–2012' on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information website.

Data and surveillance

Surveillance reports

Data tables

Toxoplasma, Scotland: annual totals as at 21 January 2022
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020*
Toxoplasma 23 17 14 26 32 42 36 34 30 33


* 2020 data remains provisional

Data source: Public Health Scotland