The toxoplasma test looks for antibodies in the blood to a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite causes an infection called toxoplasmosis. The infection is a danger to a developing baby if a pregnant woman gets it. It is also dangerous in people with AIDS.
A blood sample is needed.
There is no special preparation for the test.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people may feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. These soon go away.
The test is done when the health care provider suspects that you have toxoplasmosis.
In pregnant women, the test is done to:
The presence of antibodies before pregnancy probably protects a developing baby against toxoplasmosis at birth. But antibodies that develop during pregnancy may mean the mother and baby are infected. This infection during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or birth defects.
This test may also be done if you have:
Normal results mean you have likely never had a toxoplasma infection.
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test result.
Abnormal results mean that you have probably been infected with the parasite. Two types of antibodies are measured, IgM and IgG:
Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Toxoplasma serology; Toxoplasma antibody titer
Duff P. Maternal and perinatal infection - bacterial. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al., eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 51.
Montoya JG, Boothroyd JC, Kovacs JA. Toxoplasma gondii. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 279.
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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