Everything you wanted to know about toxoplasmosis and were afraid to ask

Many of youprobably know that you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I can, however, tell you, how to make a great Christmas present from one’s own anger.

A few weeks ago, I visited a local conference on toxoplasmosis, where I was annoyed by hearing about a case of a young woman, who has been sent for abortion based on a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. Not only was the diagnosis completely wrong, but even if it wasn’t, just the sole situation of having acute toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is no reason for contemplating an abortion. The infection is transmitted to first trimester embryo only in 15 percent of cases, and even the transmission is not always leading to congenital defects – in many cases, the consequences are quite small or completely nonexistent. When should a woman choose to have an abortion? When there is diagnosed harm caused to the developing child.

The worse thing about this case? It wasn’t just an error of judgement of a single medical professional, about ten different physicians from four different departments of a huge Prague hospital decided the abortion is the best way for dealing with nothing more than one positive test for accute toxoplasmosis. Of course, none of them felt any consequences; it was, after all, a “free decision of the mother”. I would honestly expect something like this to be happening in Congo or in here some thirty years ago, but certainly not in Europe in 2016.

And so we, my lab colleagues and I, have given ourselves the best Christmas present possible: a brand new web page focused on toxoplasmosis. We hope to decrease the number of such medical mistakes and ameliorate their tragic consequences. The first night after it was released, over 300 people shared the good in their facebook posts. The web page www.toxo.eu is still in Czech language, but we are preparing translations to several languages with English being the first on our to-do list. If your know any Czech people, please, share the news as well, you can help save a few unborn lives. And, please, keep an eye for the realease of language mutations, so you can learn a thing or two as well. Have a great 2017!

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