Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a single-celled parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The disease can be acquired by ingesting raw or undercooked infected meat, especially pork, lamb, or venison, or raw milk that contains the parasite. The parasite is shed primarily in the feces of infected cats, and humans can become infected by the ingestion of food, water, or dirt contaminated with cat feces. After the parasite is shed in cat feces, it takes 1 to 5 days to become infective and then may remain infective for months to years. Toxoplasmosis can also be acquired through a transplacental infection, when an infected mother passes the infection to her fetus.

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Last Revised: September 12, 2019