Does toxoplasmosis exist in the UK?
Apparently toxoplasmosis is a huge danger during pregnancy in France, but not in the UK.
What exactly is toxoplasmosis?
According to Wikipedia it is “a parasitic disease…the primary host is the felid (cat) family…those with a weakened immune system, such as…pregnant women, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal.”
Interestingly most people I have discussed this with in the UK have never heard of it, and it’s certainly never discussed during antenatal appointments. On the other hand in France everyone woman who has ever been pregnant there knows all about it, and knows if they have had it or not.
Toxoplasmosis immunity works in a similar way to that of Rubella: once you’ve had the disease (or in the case of Rubella been vaccinated against it) you are immune and won’t get it again.
In France, before you get married you are obliged by law to have a whole load of blood tests, including HIV detection and for women Rubella and Toxoplasmosis immunity detection. Then if you consult a gynaecologist/obstetrician before you decide to start trying for a baby you will have these tests again. Finally when you go for your first antenatal check-up you will be sent off for these tests yet again.
If you are not immune to Toxoplasmosis (as was my case) you are then subjected to monthly blood tests to ensure you haven’t picked it up. So it is a fairly hot topic for pregnant women in France.
As this drove me crazy during my pregnancy with L I have spent the last 5 years attempting to catch the disease to avoid the monthly blood tests and stress during my second pregnancy. All that, potentially, in vain, as no one in the UK ever talks about toxo, and there’s no one here, medical or otherwise, who seems the least bit worried about the risk of me getting it during my pregnancy.
So what is that all about then? Are they over-cautious in France? Or not careful enough in the UK?