Overview of Food Poisoning Due to Toxoplasma

Toxoplasmosis is a potentially dangerous infection caused by a microscopic parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. Causing nearly 400 fatalities per year, Toxoplasmosis is considered to be the third leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the United States. Toxoplasmosis is especially dangerous for pregnant women because the parasite can invade the placenta and sometimes pass to the unborn child (congenital infection). Transmission of the parasite to the unborn child can take place (referred to as “congenital Toxoplasma”) even where the mother has no symptoms and is unaware that she is acutely infected. The risk of congenital infection is about 15% for maternal infections which occur during the first trimester. The risk rises later in pregnancy (30% in the second trimester, and 60% in the third trimester). Congenital infection can threaten the health of the fetus and sometimes cause severe diseases of the eyes and nervous system. Adverse health consequences to the unborn child are often more severe the earlier in pregnancy congenital transmission occurs. However, if maternal infection occurs months before inception, then the fetus is usually protected because of immunity developed by the mother. As a result, some experts recommend that women who have suffered Toxoplasma infections wait 6 months or more before becoming pregnant. Infants infected during gestation may show no symptoms after birth but develop vision loss, seizures or mental disability later in life. Toxoplasma infection during or shortly before pregnancy can also result in miscarriage or birth of a stillborn child. Learn more about other Types of Foodborne Illnesses.

Most pregnant women and other healthy adults will not suffer any symptoms and will not even know they have become infected with the parasite. Sometimes, healthy adults may experience mild flu-like symptoms which resolve within a few days or weeks. However, the parasite will remain in the body in an “inactive” state. About one-quarter of the United States population has been infected with this parasite. Most previously infected individuals never knew they had the parasite, and they are unaware that it lies dormant in their tissue. Unfortunately, the parasite can become “reactivated” and cause a “relapse” of Toxoplasmosis especially where there arises some compromise of the previously infected person’s immune system. The vast majority of deaths and severe health consequences from Toxoplasmosis involve pregnant women, infants infected in utero, and adults who are immunocompromised. Antibiotics can be used to treat Toxoplasma infections. Indeed, the earlier antibiotic therapy is started, the greater chance transmission to the fetus can be avoided.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Food Poisoning Lawyer

Ragland Law Firm, LLC has considerable experience in the field of food safety litigation. Its trial attorneys have handled many personal injury lawsuits involving food poisoning, injuries caused by food adulterated with foreign objects, and anaphylaxis caused by allergic food reactions. Learn more about the law firm’s Food Safety Case Results. The food safety lawyers at Ragland Law Firm, LLC can handle cases for clients located in Atlanta, Riverdale, Snellville, Suwanee, Rome, LaGrange, Hinesville and all other parts of Georgia. If you or a family member has suffered Toxoplasma food poisoning or any other type of foodborne illness, we invite you to contact us to discuss your case. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

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