Taxoplasmosis encephalitis is an infection caused by Taxoplasma gondii, an intracellular protozoan parasite. The infection can occur pre-natally or post-natally. It may be caused by exposure or consumption of undercooked meat, drinking of unpasteurized goat milk, contact with soil, cleaning of cat litter boxes, and ingestion of unwashed raw fruits or vegetables. The infection can also occur during organ transplantation or due to laboratory accidents. Prevalence of the infection varies from country to country. The prevalence is high in Latin America and countries of tropical Africa. North America, Southeast Asia, Northern Europe, and Africa witness low sero-prevalence, while Central and Southern Europe witness moderate prevalence of the disease.
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The global taxoplasmosis encephalitis market can be segmented based on diagnostic tests and geography. Diagnostic tests include serological investigations, direct detection, and imaging. Presence of IgG antibodies indicates risk of infection. Monitoring of IgM and IgA levels in neonates helps in screening of the infection. Imaging tests comprise MRI or CT scanning for brain lesions. Newer scanning procedures viz. PET or SPECT imaging assist in distinguishing taxoplasma encephalitis from other infections of the central nervous system. Fetal or neonatal ultrasonography can be performed in cases of known transplacental infection. Positron emission tomography (PET) or single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scanning can be helpful in distinguishing between taxoplasmosis encephalitis and primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma. However, no imaging technique is completely specific.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification technique, screening of tissue sections or body smears, and tests such as tissue culture or biopsy stain are some of the direct tests for detecting the presence of Taxoplasma gondii. Tissue section and body smearing tests are conducted to find out the presence of tachyzoites, which is an active form of the parasite. Polymerase chain reactions allow detection of presence of the parasite in the blood, the body tissues, and the fluids. This test particularly helps in the diagnosis of disseminated disease, especially in HIV patients and intrauterine toxoplasmosis patients. Individuals infected with HIV should be tested for IgG antibody against the organism to detect the latent infection of T. gondii.
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Patients with taxoplasmosis encephalitis are administered anticonvulsants if they have past history of seizures. However, it is not recommended as prophylaxis for all patients. Other drugs which may be administered to treat the infection are pyrimethamine, sulfonamides, spiramycinm clindamycin, macrolides, hydroxynaphtoquinones, folate inhibitors, immunomodulators, and other combination drugs. Geographically, the global taxoplasmosis encephalitis market can be categorized into four major regions viz. North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of World. In the U.S., toxoplasmic encephalitis is mostly caused by reactivation of chronic infection in patients with HIV. Moreover, the incidence of this disease has a direct correlation with the presence of antibodies against T. gondii. Approximately 10% to 40% of patients with HIV in the U.S. manifest presence of antibodies against T. gondii.
Various studies indicate that 50% of T. gondii-seropositive AIDS patients develop toxoplasmic encephalitis in a due course of time. The risk of toxoplasmosis decreases after administration of a primary prophylaxis against T. gondii and recommendation of effective therapy against the retrovirus. Prevalence of the asymptomatic infection usually increases with the age. Seroprevalence rates of this parasitic infection have been declining worldwide. However, it is observed to be high in South America, Africa, and Europe. Furthermore, in some of these places, rates may be still increasing. Some of the key players operating in the global taxoplasmosis encephalitis market include DiaSorin, Glenmark, GlaxoSmithKline, Hoffman La Roche, and Boehringer Ingelheim.
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