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Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that you can catch from the poo of infected cats, or infected meat. It's usually harmless but can cause serious problems in some people.

Check if you have toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis does not usually cause any symptoms and most people do not know they've had it.

Some people may have flu-like symptoms such as:

  • high temperature
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • aching body
  • swollen glands
  • feeling tired
  • feeling sick or being sick

Some people may have more serious symptoms including:

  • confusion
  • blurred vision
  • slurred speech
  • unsteady walking

Risks of toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is not usually serious and normally gets better on its own.

But it can cause serious problems if you:

  • get it while you’re pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system – for example, if you have HIV or are having chemotherapy
  • have more severe symptoms such as confusion, blurred vision or slurred speech

If you get toxoplasmosis while you're pregnant it can cause miscarriage. If it spreads to your baby it can cause serious complications.

If you have a weakened immune system toxoplasmosis may cause problems with your eyes, brain, heart or lungs.

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system, and have any symptoms of toxoplasmosis
  • you have blurred vision
  • you have difficulty walking

You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.

If you're pregnant, you can also call your midwife for advice.

Immediate action required: Go to A&E or call 999 if you or someone else suddenly:

  • gets confused
  • has slurred speech

What happens at your GP appointment

The GP may do blood tests to see if you've been infected with toxoplasmosis. They can also prescribe medicines to treat the infection if necessary.

If you're pregnant and you test positive for toxoplasmosis, the GP can refer you for more tests to see if your baby has been infected. This is very rare.

The baby charity Tommy's has advice on toxoplasmosis and pregnancy.

Treatment for toxoplasmosis

Most people who get toxoplasmosis get better without treatment.

However, you’ll usually be given medicines, including antibiotics, if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system, for example, you’re taking immunosuppressant medicines or you have HIV
  • have symptoms affecting your eyes

Newborn babies with toxoplasmosis are also treated with antibiotics and sometimes other medicines to treat the symptoms.

If you’re seriously ill, you may need to be treated in hospital.

How to prevent toxoplasmosis

The parasite that causes toxoplasmosis can be found in the poo of infected cats, and in undercooked meat. You can also catch it from soil that's been contaminated by cat poo.

There are things you can do if you're pregnant or have a weakened immune system to help you avoid toxoplasmosis.


  • wear gloves while gardening, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards

  • wash your hands before preparing food and eating

  • wash hands, knives and chopping boards thoroughly after preparing raw meat

  • wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to get rid of any traces of soil

  • thoroughly cook meat, especially lamb, pork and venison

  • avoid cat poo in cat litter and soil if you can, wearing gloves if you need to empty cat litter trays and washing your hands afterwards


  • do not eat raw or undercooked meat, or cured meats like salami or parma ham

  • do not have unpasteurised goats' milk or any products made from it

  • do not touch pregnant sheep or lambs

  • do not feed cats raw or undercooked meat


You cannot catch toxoplasmosis from stroking a cat, having a cat as a pet or from coming into contact with someone who's got it.

Page last reviewed: 25 August 2023
Next review due: 25 August 2026