Toxoplasmosis, a condition caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, is a condition that few pregnant women are screened for, despite the ubiquity of the organism in the environment. The most common source for the parasite in humans is contact with cats, who have the parasite in their excrement. Doctors who treat babies born with toxoplasmosis are calling for screening for the parasite to be a routine feature of prenatal care.
A group of doctors who treat children born with toxoplasmosis, which can cause blindness and brain damage in babies, are calling for routine screening of pregnant women and infants. Few are routinely tested for the infection, caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, even though it can infect all animals and can be found in the ground. Cats spread the parasite in their feces. Pregnant women are warned not to clean cat litter boxes. They also should avoid raw or undercooked food. Shellfish and untreated water are new suspected culprits. A recent study on the infection’s risk factors was the led by physicians from Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago.