Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics, Dr. Klein, Dr. Rost and Colleagues

Toxoplasmosis

Dr. med. Hartmut Campe, Dr. med. Hanns-Georg Klein

Scientific Background

The pathogen Toxoplasma gondii is transmitted by consumption of raw and insufficiently cooked cyst containing meat or by contaminated soil (e.g. with cat feces). Transplancental infection of an unborn child during pregnancy is also possible.

In most cases toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic. Lymphoma, especially in the head area, can occur postnatally. Eye involvement is rare. Depending on the time of infection, the severity of damage caused by prenatal infection can differ. Children with prenatal toxoplasmosis infection who are asymptomatic at birth must be observed with respect to late manifestations in the eyes (chorioretinitis). Toxoplasma can reactivate under immunosuppression and cause encephalitis.

In about 30% of pregnant women in Germany a previous toxoplasma infection can be demonstrated (IgG positive, IgM negative). In these patients, immunity is assumed.