TOXOPLASMOSIS FACT SHEET
What is toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the
parasite Toxoplasma gondii
The parasite can infect almost all
animals, but the cat is the definitive
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) estimates that:
Eating undercooked or raw meat is the
most common way humans become infected.
How do people get infected?
Eating raw or undercooked contaminated
meat, or foods that have been in contact
with contaminated surfaces (cutting
boards, utensils, knives, unwashed
fruits and vegetables).
Drinking contaminated water or
Ingesting infective parasite eggs (oocysts)
from cat feces (changing the litter box,
working with contaminated soil when
Blood transfusion, organ transplant, or
mother-to-fetus during pregnancy.
What are symptoms of toxoplasmosis?
How is toxoplasmosis diagnosed and treated?
Blood testing (serology)
is the most common way
toxoplasmosis in humans.
Serology measures the
amount of antibodies in
a person's immune system
is producing to fight
off the parasite after
infection. People can be
seropositive (i.e. still
have these antibodies in
the blood) long after
their body has fought
off the effects of the
Serologic testing is
also used to diagnose
cats. However, a
seropositive test in a
cat does not mean the
cat is shedding parasite
eggs. Most infected cats
shed eggs only for a
short time after first
becoming infected and
will not shed again.
Treatment is typically
unnecessary in healthy
individuals and cats.
Multiple medications are
individuals and pregnant
women, as indicated by a
I do to protect myself from toxoplasmosis?
Avoid eating undercooked or raw meat.
Avoid drinking raw or unpasteurized milk
and untreated water.
Avoid cross-contamination of foods by
washing all cutting boards, utensils,
and dishes after each use.
Wash fruits and vegetables prior to
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and
water after handling raw meat,
soil/sand, unwashed fruits and
vegetables, or cat litter boxes.
Use gloves when gardening.
Keep cats indoors and feed a
commercially prepared, cooked diet. Do
not feed cats raw meat.
Clean cat litter boxes daily. It takes
24 hours for eggs shed in cat feces to
become infective. Therefore, cleaning
the litter box as soon as possible
decreases the chances of contracting
infective Toxoplasma eggs.
Immunocompromised or pregnant women
should avoid cleaning cat litter boxes
IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Since animals typically do not
show signs of toxoplasmosis, there have not been reports
of it to the Veterinary Public Health Program (VPH).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) -
Center for Food Safety and Public Health (CFSPH) -
Toxoplasmosis technical factsheet (for physicians
Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) -
Current advice on parasite control: Toxoplasma
Last updated: June 16, 2015