Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG / IgM Lab Test

Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG / IgM
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Clinical Definition of Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG / IgM

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by Toxoplasma Gondii parasite and may cause flu-like symptoms. It may also be transmitted by many warm-blooded animals like birds or mammals. Human beings are infected from ingestion of the parasites in raw or undercooked meat, careless handling of cat litter, contaminated vegetables and other foods, or from the soil by soil-eating kids. It may also be transmitted during pregnancy via the placenta.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by ingesting the parasite when handling the excreta of infected cats, drinking unpasteurized goat’s milk and also by eating contaminated meat. Toxoplasmosis infection can be passed from mother to the child through the placenta during pregnancy. Toxoplasma Gondii can cause eye and central nervous system infections as well as cysts in the brain and muscles. If contracted during pregnancy, it may result in miscarriage or cause birth defects, though this depends on the time and stage of pregnancy during which the infection was acquired by the mother. 

What is Toxoplasma Gondii Test? 

It is a blood routine that helps in determining if the sample has serum antibodies to the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite. This screening test is also referred to as the toxoplasmosis test. The serum antibodies screened in the test are only detected if you have been infected by the parasite. Types and the total number of antibodies present in the serum give conclusive evidence of when the infection might have occurred. To understand what is toxoplasmosis it is important to understand its causes and symptoms.

What does Toxoplasma IgG positive mean?

When a person is infected by Toxoplasma Gondii parasite, the immune system is forced to produce antibodies to it. There are two classes of antibodies called IgM and IgG that are generally found when infected with the parasite. The IgM antibodies are produced first after the initial exposure while the toxoplasma igg antibodies are produced several weeks after the initial infection.

How is Toxoplasmosis Treated?

The Toxoplasma Gondii treatment depends on the following factors.

1. If you are an otherwise healthy individual with signs and symptoms of the disease, the doctor may prescribe certain drugs as a part of the treatment. Examples of these include Sulfadiazine and Pyrimethamine.

2. If you have been suffering from HIV and AIDS, the doctor may prescribe pyrimethamine alongside sulfadiazine or clindamycin.

3. If you are a pregnant woman infected with the parasite the antibiotic spiramycin may be recommended by the doctor as a part of the toxoplasmosis treatment. This treatment works if the infection has not been passed on to the foetus. Otherwise, treatment with pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine may be given to keep the parasite dormant.

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

Why Get Tested?

The toxoplasma test checks for antibodies in the blood to the parasite. The test may be conducted soon after pregnancy to detect toxoplasmosis infection in a newborn child or to screen pregnant women for the antibodies to the parasite.

Reason to take Toxoplasma before - IgG / IgM Test

Some of the toxoplasmosis symptoms include:

• Eye inflammation and fever

• Diarrhoea

• Vomiting

• Weight loss

• Neurological symptoms

• Jaundice

• Swollen lymph nodes

• Difficulty in breathing due to pneumonia

• Lethargy, Tiredness

• Anorexia

Preparations Needed for Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG /IgM Test

No Fasting Required.

No other special preparations required.

What are the Causes of Toxoplasmosis?

The Toxoplasma Gondii life cycle constitutes three forms oocysts, tachyzoites, and bradyzoites. When we eat the contaminated food, the oocysts present in them enter the body and penetrate into the intestinal wall and other cells. It then multiplies rapidly inside the cells and causes them to burst to release the Tachyzoites. These are then passed on to infect the other cells, but the immune system slows down the reproduction of the parasite. At this stage, there are numerous bradyzoites developing inside the cells of heart, muscles etc.

The Toxoplasma Gondii parasite infection can be contracted in the following ways:

1. Cats faeces contain the parasite, hence when you come in contact with the same the chances of getting infected are high.

2. Eating or drinking contaminated food and water can also be one of the toxoplasmosis causes.

3. Raw meat is generally known to harbour the parasite. The kitchen utensils that come in contact with such meat can transmit the parasite. Always wash them thoroughly with hot and soapy water.

4. There are chances that the parasite is present on the surface of the fruits and vegetables. Hence it is important to wash them nicely before consumption.

5. In rare cases, the infection can also be caused as a result of transplantation of an infected organ or blood.

How is Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG /IgM Test done?

The Toxoplasma Gondii test includes a simple blood work that requires the technician of the nurse to draw blood from the vein on your arm. A small needle is inserted inside to draw the blood sample into a tube which is then sent for analysis. Normally the Toxoplasma Gondii test cost is quite affordable.

Does Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG /IgM Test pose any risk?

Since the test for toxoplasmosis diagnosis is a simple blood test, it does not involve any significant risks. You will only feel a small prick when the needle is inserted. In rare cases there is bruising or infection at the puncture site. The test could be risky in case you are suffering from a bleeding disorder. It is advisable to consult your doctor before going for the test.

What might affect my test results?

If you are already on an existing medication or have consumed any over the counter drugs prior to the test, possibilities are there that the test results might be compromised. Inform your doctor beforehand in such a scenario.

What other tests might I have along with Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG /IgM Test?

Individuals with a severe case of the infection might be required to undergo a brain MRI or biopsy. The evaluation is required if it is suspected that the infection has resulted in encephalitis. Also, pregnant women infected with the parasite are required to undergo additional diagnostic tests like amniocentesis to check for any abnormalities in the foetus.

Sample Required for Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG /IgM Test?

Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample), Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

Understanding results of Toxoplasma Gondii - IgG / IgM

Reference RangeInterpretation
0.500 to 0.599 (IgM)Equivocal
Equal to or greater than 0.6 (IgM)Non Reactive
6.6 to 8.0 IU/ml(IgG)Reactive
Above 8.0 IU/ml(IgG)Reactive
00 to 6.5 IU/ml(IgG)Non Reactive Indeterminate

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Conclusion

The Toxoplasmosis infection can have a lasting impact if left untreated or unrecognised. If there is any suspected symptom of the infection contacts your doctor immediately. The risk increases if you are pregnant or are suffering from HIV and AIDS, hence timely treatment becomes imperative.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/toxoplasmosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356255
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0005670
  3. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/toxoplasmosis-testing
  4. https://cvi.asm.org/content/16/10/1517
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4451882/
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22201623