Toxo-test, what it is and how to read the results

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Marie-Ange Demory
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La toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. In most cases it is asymptomatic or it can give mild symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes, headache or throat, tiredness, fever. If it is contracted once, it subsequently leaves a permanent immunity: this means that there is no longer the risk of getting sick.



However, toxoplasmosis becomes very dangerous in pregnancy, as it can damage the fetus, which can pass through the placenta. The most serious consequences are when toxoplasmosis is contracted in the first weeks of gestation. In order to check if there is a real risk, you can do the toxo-test, a blood test to detect the presence of antibodies to toxoplasma.



In this article

  • what happens if you get toxoplasmosis in pregnancy
  • what is the toxo-test
  • how to read the results of the toxo-test
  • how to know when the infection occurred
  • possible treatments
Read also: Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy: things to know

Toxoplasmosis, what if it is contracted during pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy

Early in a pregnancy, the risks can be serious, such as:



  • miscarriage,
  • fetal malformations,
  • damage to the central nervous system.

, head of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit at the Luigi Sacco Hospital in our city and professor at the University of our city, explained in an interview with MyModernParents that "Fortunately, at the beginning of pregnancy it is difficult for toxoplasma reaches the fetus, but if this happens, the risks can also be serious: for example, miscarriage, malformations, damage to the central nervous system that can lead to mental retardation or epilepsy or eye injuries that can cause blindness. Conversely, towards the end of pregnancy the passage through the placenta is easier, but at that point the possible risks are less ».

Symptoms of toxoplasmosis

In most cases, toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic or can give mild symptoms. Between these:

  • enlarged lymph nodes,
  • headache or throat,
  • fatigue,
  • temperature.

Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy, the experiences of mothers

Be positive on the toxo test. Anxiety, worry: will the baby in the womb be okay or not? We have collected the testimonies of mothers who discovered they contracted toxoplasmosis during pregnancy.



  1. suspected toxoplasmosis in pregnancy: luckily I did not have an abortion
  2. 8 weeks pregnant and positive for toxo
  3. toxoplasmosis in pregnancy: my heart will never be able to go back to beating as before

Toxo-test, what is it

The toxo test is a blood test which allows you to understand if you are immune or if you are at risk of contracting the infection. In particular, it allows to detect the presence of antibodies against toxoplasma. It is advisable to perform the test together with the recommended first tests at the first visit of the pregnancy, but it can still be done even before conception.

The examination is charged to the National Health System.

  • If the woman is immune, she can stay calm for the whole nine months and does not have to retake the test.
  • If you have never contracted it, you must repeat the test every month to avoid any danger.
  • If, on the other hand, he contracted it during pregnancy, he runs the risk of passing it on to the fetus.

How to read the results of the toxo-test

The toxo-test looks for the presence of specific antibodies in the blood, ie immunoglobulins, against the parasite. In particular, there are two types of immunoglobulins:

  1. le IgM they form when there is an infection and therefore warn that the disease is in progress
  2. le IgG remain in circulation to signal that the organism has encountered the parasite in the past.

Positive or negative test: here's how to read the results.

  • IgM and IgG both negative (i.e. lower than the reference values): the woman has never had the infection and therefore, for this reason, she must pay close attention to certain preventive hygiene rules.
  • IgM negative e IgG positive: the woman has already contracted toxoplasmosis in the past, but does not have an infection in progress. This means that she is immune and there is no danger to the fetus.
  • IgM positive e IgG negative: it means that at the time of the examination the infection is in progress, even if the woman had never contracted the infection in the past.
  • IgM and IgG both positive: the infection was there and perhaps is still in circulation, or it could have occurred 3-4 months earlier, since IgM generally takes 3-4 months before being negative.

When did the infection occur? It turns out with the greed test

To understand when the infection occurred there is an ad hoc test: the greed test. This test allows you to understand if the infection has occurred in the previous three months or even earlier.

What if the infection is on?

To find out if toxoplasma has crossed the placental barrier and infected the fetus, you have to do an amniocentesis, which will show the presence, in the amniotic fluid, of the microorganism.

How to cure

You need to undergo one antibiotic therapy, which lowers the risk of transmitting the infection to the fetus and which, if the transmission has already been made, decreases the risk of serious consequences.

With the help of current treatments, 90% of babies who become infected while still in utero come into the world without severe symptoms.

Cats and toxoplasmosis

When we say toxoplasmosis we immediately think of them, but in reality it is really difficult for a domestic cat to contract toxoplasmosis and transmit it to humans. Unless, of course, he goes into the garden and comes into contact with contaminated soil.

Even if this were the case, the infection occurs through the faeces, therefore the litter box. As a precaution, it is advisable to have it cleaned by other family members or to wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water.

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Questions and answers

What is the toxo test?

The toxo-test is a blood test that allows you to understand if you are immune or if you are at risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.

Is the toxo-test free?

The toxo-test is paid for by the national health service.

TAG:
  • toxoplasmosis test
  • pregnancy test
  • toxoplasmosis
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