Toxoplasma Testing

Toxoplasma test is used to check for the presence of the serum antibodies to the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This test is also called a toxoplasmosis test. The body develops these antibodies after an individual has contracted the infection. You can visit any private clinic near you for a private toxoplasmosis test London, UK.

The number of antibodies determines if it is a recent infection, or it has been there for a while. Within a few weeks, your doctor may request more than one blood test to confirm this infection.

Most adults do not even notice they have the infection and do not need treatment. This is because the infection will clear off on its own. However, this is not for all. The case is more severe with a pregnant woman as it can transfer to the child and cause severe damages. Some of these damages include blindness and brain damage. When the infection is detected in a pregnant woman, the doctors usually recommend the amniotic fluid be tested to see if the disease has gotten to the child.

Toxoplasma Testing - blood test
Toxoplasma Testing – blood test

Eating raw or poorly cooked meat of an animal that has the infection puts you at risk of contracting the disease. You can also contract it while handling your cat’s litter box or coming in contact with cat faeces. After being infected, you will be immune to subsequent infection as the antibodies will be present in you until you die.

Why you may need a toxoplasma test

Your doctor will recommend a toxoplasma test if he notices that you have the T. gondii antibodies during pregnancy. He can also support this when your baby has toxoplasmosis. This test might be required for people with weakened immunity due to an infection like HIV.

How to prepare for a toxoplasmosis test

You do not need to make specific preparations for this test. However, you should tell your doctor the last time you cleaned a litter box. Let your doctor know if you have clotting or bleeding problems and if you take a blood thinner.

The testing process

The process of testing usually begins with taking the blood sample for the patient. For this to happen, your health care providers will rub alcohol on the spot on your arm, inject a needle with a syringe and draw out blood — the place will be closed with a gauze pad. This blood sample is then used to test for the infection.

To test the baby of a pregnant woman, they recommend any of the following tests:

Amniocentesis

This test can only be performed after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. For this test, your doctor will use a tiny needle to take out a little sample of your amniotic sac and check for the presence of toxoplasmosis.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound cannot detect the presence of toxoplasmosis in a baby. However, it can show if there is a part of the brain that has a build-up of fluids.

Risks of undergoing a toxoplasma test

Risks with the blood test

As with every other blood test, there will be s slight bruise at the needle site. In rare cases, there may be swelling or inflammation of the vein where the blood was gotten. This condition is known as phlebitis and can be treated by applying a warm compress at the swollen area several times a day.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop at the needle site, it could be because of a bleeding disorder. It could also be caused by taking any of the following blood thinners:

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen (Advil)
  • naproxen (Alleve)
  • warfarin (Coumadin)
  • other anti-inflammatory drugs

Risks of amniocentesis

Undergoing this test puts you at a slight chance of miscarriage. You may also experience a little abdominal cramp, irritation or leaking of fluid from the site where the needle was inserted.

Interpreting the result

The results will be available within three days. These results are measured in titer. A titer is the amount of saltwater that will dilute the blood sample until there are no more antibodies detected. Antibodies develop within the first two weeks of infection, and the titer reaches the highest level after one or two months of disease.

A result of 1:16 – 1:256 titer shows a past infection, while 1:1,024 or more proves an active infection.

What happens after the test?

If your test result showed acute toxoplasmosis, your doctor might recommend any of the following treatments:

Pyrimethamine (Daraprim)

Pyrimethamine (Daraprim) is a malaria treatment that is also used for treating toxoplasmosis. Your doctor may recommend more folic acid intake. This is because this medication can cause folic acid deficiency and can lower your levels of vitamin B12.

Sulfadiazine

Doctors sometimes combine this antibiotic with pyrimethamine (Daraprim) for the treatment of toxoplasmosis.

Treatment for the pregnant woman and baby

pregnant woman and toxoplasma test
pregnant woman and toxoplasma test

If you are infected, but your baby is free of this infection, your doctor may prescribe spiramycin (an antibiotic). This drug is experimental in the United States but has been approved for use in Europe. The drug will reduce your child’s risk of getting the infection but will not affect the healthy growth and development of the child.

The doctor may prescribe pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine if the toxoplasmosis test showed your baby is infected. However, this will only be in an extreme situation since the medication can be harmful to both you and your baby. This treatment may be used to manage the disease but can not undo the already done damage.

For more details about this test, do call us today or book an appointment with us at Private Blood Tests London and our experienced medical professionals will be glad to be of help.