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Diagnostic testing for toxoplasmosis infection

Joseph D Schwartzman, MD
Eskild Petersen, MD, DMSc, DTM&H
Section Editor
Peter F Weller, MD, MACP
Deputy Editor
Jennifer Mitty, MD, MPH


Toxoplasmosis is a worldwide zoonosis caused by the intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). Infection in humans most commonly occurs through the ingestion of raw or undercooked meat that contains tissue cysts, through ingestion of water or food contaminated with oocysts, or congenitally through transplacental transmission from a mother who acquired infection during pregnancy. Transmission has also been reported through solid organ transplantation.

Laboratory testing is usually necessary to establish the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis because the clinical manifestations of infection are so protean. The diagnostic methodology requires careful consideration based on the patient’s clinical presentation. Available diagnostic modalities for T. gondii include serologic assays, molecular-based techniques (eg, polymerase chain reaction-based assays), and histopathology.

This topic will address diagnostic techniques for toxoplasmosis in the immunocompetent and immunocompromised adult. Additional topic reviews that discuss toxoplasmosis include:

(See "Toxoplasmosis in HIV-infected patients".)

(See "Toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent hosts".)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 05, 2017.
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