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About 80%-90% of people infected with Toxoplasma are asymptomatic. Those who develop symptoms usually have cervical lymph node swelling and flu-like symptoms that resolve in a few weeks or months without treatment. The organism remains in the body in a latent state and may reactivate if the person becomes immunodepressed. For example, patients with AIDS can develop lesions in the brain due to Toxoplasma reactivation. Chemotherapy patients can develop eye, heart (myocarditis), lung or brain involvement when parasites become reactivated. Congenital Toxoplasma infections can cause serious eye, ear, and brain damage at birth. However, congenital infections may be asymptomatic until the first few years of life or even until the second or third decade when eye (decreased vision or blindness), ear (hearing loss), or brain damage symptoms (seizures, mental-status changes) develop. Toxoplasmosis is the leading cause of retinochoroiditis (inflammation of the retina and choroid of the eye) in the United States.
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