Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis

While there are some very apparent signs and symptoms of toxoplasmosis, not everyone experiences them. In fact, a large number of people never have any symptoms at all. Typically, a person who is infected with the parasite may have flu like symptoms such as swollen nodes. You may also experience pains and muscle aches throughout your body. These muscle aches often last for a few hours to a few weeks. A strong immune system is usually able to fight the infection off. It also ensures that you do not get the infection again.

Though only a few people develop symptoms due to the toxoplasma gondii, the disease may manifest itself more prominently in people with low immunity. For example, in people who have recently received an organ transplant, or have had an immune damaging disease such as HIV, an infection can trigger severe damage to the brain or other vital organs of the body. The infection could also affect the spinal cord, causing paralysis, or the eyes, causing temporary or partial blindness.

One of the most common complications of the infection is ocular toxoplasmosis. This is a symptom in which the eyes are severely damaged. It can cause blurred or reduced vision and may also cause redness, pain and tearing in the eyes.

Since infants do not have a very strong immune system, they can be seriously affected by the infection. If a fetus is infected, the baby is born with congenital toxoplasmosis.

If the fetus is exposed to the infection a mere few months after the pregnancy, it can be life threatening. Babies have a 10% to 20% chance of developing toxoplasmosis when exposed to the infection. Though most newborns may not have any specific symptoms of the infection, there are a few which may have congenital birth defects. Eye and brain damage are the most common of these congenital defects. At the time of birth, there are no symptoms to put the doctors on alert. Unfortunately, the actual symptoms begin to show themselves about 2 to 6 months after the birth of the baby. Signs such as jaundice, enlarged lymph nodes and skin rashes may be an indication of toxoplasmosis in infants.