If you are interested in congenital toxoplasmosis you should know that this refers to a group of symptoms that an unborn baby has in case he or she has been infected by the parasite in the womb. This is a topic that numerous parents are curious about.
Causes of toxoplasmosis that is congenital
Just as you might have thought, the baby can be affected only in case the mother gets infected by toxoplasmosis during her pregnancy. It is possible for the infection to spread to the developing baby during pregnancy, labor or during childbirth.
In case of the mother the toxoplasmosis infection is usually mild and it is possible that she doesn’t even know that she was infected. However in case of the baby the infection can lead to serious problems. If the infection occurs during the early pregnancy the risks are higher than if it occurs later in the pregnancy.
Symptoms of congenital toxoplasmosis
About 50% of the babies who are affected by problems of this kind are born prematurely. The infection can affect the nervous system, eyes, ears and skin of the baby. Usually the signs of infection are present upon birth. Nonetheless if the infection is mild, it is possible that the baby won’t show any signs of it.
Nonetheless if the pediatric toxoplasmosis isn’t treated, the children can develop serious problems by the time they become adolescents. The symptoms include enlarged spleen or liver, vomiting, diarrhea, eye damage because the retina becomes inflamed, hearing loss, and feeding problems.
The congenital toxoplasmosis can also lead to low birth weight, jaundice (also known as yellow skin), vision problems and skin rash. The nervous system and brain damages can vary from mild to severe and they include mental retardation or seizures.
Tests and exams
If the doctor suspects that the little one might have toxoplasmosis that is pediatric, he or she could perform a series of exams and tests. These include blood tests, amniotic fluid tests, an ultrasound of the abdomen, and antibody titer.
After birth there are some other tests and exams that can be performed if there is the possibility that the little one might have congenital toxoplasmosis. These involve antibody studies on the cerebrospinal fluid and cord blood, CT scan, neurological exams, MRI scans, standard eye exam and a toxoplasmosis test.
Treatment of the baby’s toxoplasmosis
In case of the mother the doctors may use spiramycin. The fetal infection can be treated with sulfadiazine and pyrimethamine. These can be used after the birth of the baby along with leucovorin for a year. In some cases the babies receive steroids if their eyesight is threatened or the protein level of the spinal fluid is higher than normal.
There is a lot to know about congenital toxoplasmosis. If you would like to avoid having your baby exposed to risks of this kind, you should do your best to avoid such an infection. It could come from eating infected food, drinking infected water or handling kitty litter among other possibilities.