Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content


3-minute read

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is a very common disease caused by a parasite. You can have toxoplasmosis and have no symptoms. If you’re pregnant, it can harm your baby.

What are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis?

You can have toxoplasmosis and have no symptoms.

You might feel like you have the flu, with fever, swollen glands, headaches, fatigue or muscle pains. It can last for months.

Some people get seriously ill with it. It can affect their eyes, brain or other organs.

If it affects your eyes, you might notice your vision is blurry or that your eyes are red, sore or watering.

If have a weakened immune system or are pregnant the effects to you or your baby are more likely to be serious.

If you’re pregnant, or have immune problems, or have severe symptoms and think you may have toxoplasmosis, you should see your doctor immediately.

What causes toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. You can get it from:

  • eating or handling raw or undercooked meat
  • not washing your hands after gardening
  • contact with unwashed fruit or vegetables
  • contact with cat faeces (poo) in the soil

What to do if you're pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, you need to be careful to reduce your risks of getting toxoplasmosis. It can lead to an infection causing you problems for your baby’s hearing, eyesight or brain, and has been associated with stillbirth

Read more about toxoplasmosis in pregnancy.

How is toxoplasmosis treated?

A blood test will show if you have toxoplasmosis.

If you’re pregnant or unwell, your doctor might recommend medicine. Otherwise, you will usually not need treatment.

How is toxoplasmosis prevented?

The best ways to prevent toxoplasmosis are:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling food.
  • Thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables before eating them.
  • Thoroughly cook all raw meat and ready meals.
  • Wear gloves when gardening and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid cat faeces and carefully wash your hands after handling a cat or kitty litter.

If you are immunocompromised, for example by advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, organ transplants, or treatment for some cancers, the parasites in the cyst may reactivate and can cause serious illness. You can ask your doctor about tests to check if you've had toxoplasmosis and medicine to stop it reactivating.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2021

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results


Toxoplasmosis is a common infection caused by a parasite. Symptoms include high temperature, swollen glands, sore throat and aching muscles.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Toxoplasmosis - Better Health Channel

Problems only occur if a woman becomes infected with parasites that cause toxoplasmosis for the first time while pregnant.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Toxoplasmosis | Pathology Tests Explained

Toxoplasmosis testing is performed in order to detect and diagnose a current or past Toxoplasma gondii infection. T. gondii is a microscopic parasite that in

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Toxoplasmosis in children and teenagers | Raising Children Network

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite. In most children and adults, it doesn’t need treatment. See your GP if you think your child might have toxoplasmosis.

Read more on website

Toxoplasmosis | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite occurs commonly throughout the world and infects birds and mammals, including humans.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Toxoplasma infection | SA Health

Toxoplasmosis infection is caused by a parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It occurs in animals and can be carried by cats and shed in cat faeces

Read more on SA Health website

TORCH panel | Pathology Tests Explained

TORCH is an acronym for a group of four infectious diseases that may cause illness in pregnant women and may cause birth defects in their newborns depending

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Things to avoid during pregnancy

From hair dye to house paints, there are a few products or lifestyle habits pregnant women and their partners should be cautious of during pregnancy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies | Pathology Tests Explained

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibodies are a group of tests that are ordered to help diagnose a current, recent, or past EBV infection. EBV is a member of the h

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Common myths about pregnancy

Here are some of the most common myths you might hear about being pregnant.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Queensland Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.