Toxoplasmosis is one of the most common parasitic diseases. If it is usually benign, its occurrence during pregnancy can be serious because of the risk of damage to the central nervous system of the fetus.


Cats Risks

In France, serological surveys found that 60% of cats are or have been infected. The seroprevalence is higher in cats "hunters" as in domestic cats. Cats, especially young people, emit millions of oocysts in the environment for several months without showing symptoms most often. The oocyst becomes infecting issued after a stay of at least 24 hours in the environment. Particularly resistant, remain viable oocysts for several months in moist soil. However, they are destroyed by heat at 60 ° C. The risk of acquiring the parasite is maximum in contact with cat litter and soil (gardens, vegetables, sandboxes) soiled with feces. The risk would be exceptional in direct contact with the cat.


Fetal disease can develop only in terms of specific pathogenic conditions.

- Maternal parasite: it precedes the development of immunity during a primary infection.

- The colonization of the placenta: it is a prerequisite. There is always a delay between placental infection and passage to the fetus. It is more common in late pregnancy when the body is more developed and better irrigated.

- Fetal infection: it is very variable depending on the virulence of parasites and particularly of the immune response of the host (gestational age).

It is estimated that about 6000 a year séro¬conversions the number of pregnant women in France. Of this number, the risk of fetal infection increases regularly from beginning to end of pregnancy, unlike gravity which decreases progressively, fetal effects being greater with early infections. Severe congenital toxoplasmosis results in systemic involvement with, in particular, destruction of brain tissue.

Antenatal diagnosis is based on three elements: ultrasound, I'amniocentèse and analysis of fetal blood.


Epidemiology :


Toxoplasma is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite capable of almost all cells of warm-blooded animals. The sexual cycle of toxoplasma occurs only in felines (cats mostly). The parasite develops in epithelial cells of the small intestine of cat and disseminates its feces celui¬ci infective oocysts in the environment.

Contamination mode:

Many animals can become infected by ingestion of oocysts. After multiplication and spread through the bloodstream (tachyzoites), the parasite remains latent form of bradyzoites in cysts mainly located in the brain, the eye and muscles

¬ humans become infected by feeding (cysts ingestion) and in contact with the cat (oocyst ingestion).







- Wear gloves before or thoroughly wash their hands after:

¬ handling raw meat

¬ handled crudités

¬ done gardening.


- Avoid contact with cats if not: remove cat feces and change the litter box with gloves and at regular intervals of less than 24 hours.

¬ Disinfect objects contaminated by boiling water for 5 minutes.


- Follow a diet:

 ¬ Eat any meat (sheep, cattle, poultry) well cooked.

¬ Avoid eating raw vegetables or wash them thoroughly.

¬ Avoid eating raw eggs and raw milk.