Neglected parasitic infections in the United States : toxoplasmosis
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Neglected parasitic infections in the United States : toxoplasmosis

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      Toxoplasmosis is a preventable disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. An infected individual can experience fever, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes, but can also show no signs or symptoms. A small number of infected persons may experience eye disease, and infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or severe disease in the newborn, including developmental delays, blindness, and epilepsy. Once infected with T. gondii, people are generally infected for life. As a result, infected individuals with weakened immune systems—such as in the case of advanced HIV disease, during cancer treatment, or after organ transplant—can experience disease reactivation, which can result in severe illness or even death. In persons with advanced HIV disease, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) due to toxoplasmosis is common unless long-term preventive medication is taken. Researchers have also found an association of T. gondii infection with the risk for mental illness, though this requires further study.


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