A 21-year-old Girgaum resident is now recovering from toxoplasmosis, an infectious disease which is rarely identified in human beings and is usually misdiagnosed as tuberculosis or some other infectious disease.

It is transmitted when humans consume food and water contaminated with cat faeces. The parasite can be transmitted in pregnancy from mother to foetus.

Shravani Nagvekar (name changed), a second-year LLM student, had been misdiagnosed by a general physician. “At an early stage, my GP told me that the infection marks below my ears were due to dandruff. The doctor started giving me anti-dandruff treatment,” she said.

“I have never heard of toxoplasmosis. In my locality and in my farmhouse, I love to spend time with animals and cats,” she added.

After taking anti-dandruff treatment for a few weeks, she consulted another doctor for swollen neck nodes. During the first three to four weeks, it was misdiagnosed as TB, and she was put on medicines for early-stage TB.

Dr Abhijit Thakur, consultant laparoscopic GI, breast & endocrine surgeon at Jaslok Hospital, said, “The patient underwent excision of neck lymph node and her biopsy revealed infection with toxoplasmosis, which was confirmed by her blood test. It is very important to have a proper diagnosis. In her case, the right diagnosis helped avoid prolonged anti-TB medication which she had been put on after first diagnosis.”

Nagvekar had a history of playing with cats. And the infectious disease is transmitted through water, food, vegetables and hands contaminated with cat faeces.

“It is a rare disease and hardly two to three cases are identified in three or four years. It is usually misdiagnosed and is treated as some other infectious diseases,” added Dr Abhijit.


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