Toxoplasma gondii is a potozoal parasite which causes a zoonotic disease called Toxoplasmosis. Faeces of common house hold cat are the major cause to spread the disease in pregnant women. While infection can be spread through contaminated water or food, under-cooked meat, mother to fetus, organ and blood transplant (rare).

By Mahvish Rajput

In healthy persons very mild symptoms were caused by Toxoplasmosis normally, but as far pregnant women it will cause serious damages to fetus leading to abortion. A person having cat as a pet can not effected directly from this cat but disease can be transmit to humans from infected faeces of this little pet. If a woman before few weeks when she get pregnant or first time during her pregnancy infected with this disease, her unborn baby will at high risk. Congenital toxoplasmosis is the disease which transmits from mother to her unborn baby. During pregnancy If a mother affected with this zoonotic disease for the first time, it does not mean that baby will also affected. But this disease having serious concern in pregnant women because it may cause damage to brain and other organs specially in eyes of new born along with stillbirth and miscarriage may also happens. Usually toxoplasmic mothers deliver normal babies but develop symptoms, like during childhood and adulthood eye damage may be happen. But in some cases blindness or brain damage also will happen in new born.

Many factors in our daily routine are can play major roles to spread this contagious disease toxoplasmosis.


These factors play role in transmission are:

  • Cat faeces or soil contaminated with cat faeces
  • Raw or under-cooked meat (meat showing any traces of pink or blood), and raw cured meat
  • Unpasteurized goats’ milk and dairy products made from
  • Unwashed vegetables and fruits


The disease can also transmits by these ways:

  • Placental transmission from infected mother to new born
  • Blood transfusion or organ transplant from infected person
  • Inhalation of parasitic eggs (very unusual but possible)
  • Infected matter enters in human body fluids; for example, material splashes into eyes or open cuts during the process of lambing,

Unborn child can infect from mother otherwise direct infection from one person to another is not possible. A expectant women who involve in farming, on the land and also involve in lambing may be at higher risk and may be get infected with this disease.

Precaution to be safe from toxoplasmosis during pregnancy Thoroughly cooked meat should be eat.

  • Raw meat and cured meat, should be avoided
  • Thoroughly Wash utensils, hands, and chopping
  • Vegetables and fruits should be wash properly before
  • Unpasteurized goat milk and products should be
  • Free house from lambs and do not involve in lambing
  • Avoid to handle the gardening during these precious days or wear gloves properly during this practice and wash hands properly after handling of
  • Cover litter boxes of cats and do not allow cats to litter every ware in
  • Do not remove faeces from cat litter tray by yourself ask anyone else to do this or only remove faeces when you wear gloves properly as it is highly risk to infect with this
  • Do not handle lambing ewes and do not bring lambs into the house


For the detection of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women blood tests can be done at various stages to detect certain antibodies from blood. Only small amount of blood withdraw from infected mother and unborn will not at risk. After any risk incident two to three weeks will be required to take a test because antibodies can be detectable after this time period. The only aim of this blood test is to detect certain antibodies which shows the presence of toxoplasmosis in pregnant women as well as non pregnant women. If results of test revealed current or recent infection, it is high risk for the baby to get infected. But in case of negative blood result Doctor can go with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result for further confirmation of results. As molecular test are DNA based and their report ones can’t be challenged. The ratio of severity and risk of damage to baby depends when a women get infected. There are several weeks required to infect a unborn baby through mother. Therefore, the gynecologist or obstetrician should take necessary action that might be required. A pediatricians should take care babies born to infected women with confirmed toxoplasmosis first year of their age periodically receive there blood for test. As everyone knows that breastfeeding is most powerful diet to a new born and extra antibodies transfers from this milk to baby and makes their immune system stronger. Luckily breastfeeding is safe from infected mother to her child. However, pyrimethamine is a drug which is prohibited during breastfeeding, otherwise mother should continue breastfeed to newborn.

Unfortunately screening of parasitic diseases is neglected among pregnant women from Pakistan. Presence of various abortion causes parasites is serious problem for mother and fetal health also. Parasitic diseases should be consider seriously during pregnancy. Only few studies were found on toxoplasmosis from Pakistan. Unfortunately there is lack of research in gynecology and obstetrical field from Pakistan, because it is a clinical field rather then research field. Only various type of survey studies could be found from but rarely any good research publication can be found about this field from Pakistan. Therefore it is a suggestion to do more research on this parasite in Pakistan to highlight the possible causes of this disease and to reduce the possible damages from this disease.


  1. Mahvish Rajput, PhD. Parasitology from University of Agriculture Faisalabad
  2. Dr. Muhammad Sohail Sajid, Chairman Dept. of Parasitology at University of Agriculture Faisalabad
  3. Dr. Sarwat memon, Assistant professor Dept. of Gynecology and obstetrician Isra university Hyderabad