Listeriosis and Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy: Hazards you need to know of

Leptospirosis and Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis - Causes

There is a very low risk that you could get toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis is an infection with a parasite. If you have had the infection once, you are immune for life. You can come into contact with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis through:

  • cat litter
  • raw, cured or undercooked meat
  • Infected kitchen utensils
  • unpasteurised goats' milk or cheese

If you have or had a pet cat, or have neighbours with cats or stray cats, you could’ve been exposed to the parasite and could be immune to it.

Even if you have contracted toxoplasmosis, you may not show symptoms immediately. But they could manifest in a few weeks since infection and can show as:

  • headaches
  • swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • fatigue
  • muscular aches
  • general flu-like symptoms

Listeriosis - Causes

This is a rare illness caused by listeria monocytogenes bacteria found in certain foods, soil and animal poop.

However, eating contaminated food is the most common cause of listeriosis.

Remember you’re more at risk of getting infected by listeriosis especially when you’re pregnant. This is because your immune system’s priorities change during pregnancy and its first task is to protect your baby. So you end up being susceptible to any number of infections that you may come in contact with.

It’s hard to tell if you have a listeriosis infection because your symptoms may not be evident for several weeks. Also, it can be confused with ordinary flu. The typical symptoms are:

  • a fever
  • chills
  • tummy cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • muscle aches
  • nausea

Listeria can result from:

  • unwashed or poorly washed fruits and vegetables
  • unpasteurised milk and dairy
  • pâte of any sort, including vegetable pâte
  • Frozen ready-to-eat meals
  • Blue cheese or brie - unpasteurised cheese

Pasteurized dairy is totally fine. See your doctor in case any of these symptoms persist more than 48 hours.