Toxoplasmosis | Causes & Risk Factors


How do you get toxoplasmosis?

You can get toxoplasmosis in the following ways:

  • By swallowing the parasite in cat litter or dirt that has cat droppings in it. This can happen if you put your hands to your mouth after gardening, cleaning a cat litter box or touching anything that has been in contact with cat droppings. Cats sometimes carry the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, especially if they hunt animals or are fed raw meat.
  • By eating raw or undercooked meat, especially pork, lamb or wild game.
  • By touching something, such as a cutting board or dish, that has been in contact with raw or undercooked meat and then putting your hands in or near your mouth.
  • By eating unwashed raw fruits and vegetables, or drinking water with the parasite in it.

People who have an organ transplant or a blood transfusion can also get toxoplasmosis if the organ or blood were infected. However, this rarely happens.


Congenital Toxoplasmosis by J Jones, M.D., M.P.H., A Lopez, M.H.S. and M Wilson, M.S. (American Family Physician May 15, 2003,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 09/00