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Laboratory Diagnosis

The most important method for diagnosing toxoplasmosis is serology since clinical and other means of diagnosis are insufficient. Many laboratory techniques such as hemagglutination, ELISA, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, and polymerase chain reaction are available. The presence of IgG or Toxoplasma antigen indicates the presence of infection, but does not differentiate latent from symptomatic disease. Thus, more sophisticated methods to measure IgM are often necessary. Similarly, biopsy of solid organs and lymph nodes, with histological evaluation or culture of such biopsy material, will indicate the presence of organisms, but does not implicate clinical disease. Animal inoculation and cell culture are reliable but take time: they are especially important after standard treatment, which may so reduce the number of organisms that after a few weeks there may only be cysts, and later even these are unrecognizable.

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