Archive Of Standardized Exam Questions: Toxoplasmosis


This page is dedicated to organizing various examples of standardized exam questions whose answer is toxoplasmosis. While this may seem a odd practice, it is useful to see multiple examples of how toxoplasmosis will be characterized on standardized exams (namely the boards and the shelf exams). This page is not meant to be used as a traditional question bank (as all of the answers will be the same), however seeing the classic “test” characterization for a disease is quite valuable.


When it comes to standardized exams, each topic has its own “code” marked by key buzzwords, lab findings, clues, etc. If you are well versed in this code you will be able to more quickly identify the condition that is being discussed, and get the right answer on the exam you are taking. Below is the “code” for toxoplasmosis

  • AIDS patients/immunocompromised patients are the classic patient population 
  • Seizures may be experienced by the patient 
  • Ring enhancing lesion(s) can be seen on imaging

Question # 1

A 35 year old female with AIDS is brought to the clinic because she has been acting oddly over the past week. Her husband explains that she has stopped going to work, and only watches TV all day. A physical exam shows lymphadenopathy. A physical exam reveals hyperrefiexia of the left upper and lower extremities. She perseverates during the conversation. A CT scan shows a region of hypodensity in the right putamen whose edges enhance after contrast administration. Two other similar findings are seen in the right frontal lobe and the left midbrain. What is the likely diagnosis?

Explanation # 1

AIDS patient + multiple ring enhancing lesions = toxoplasmosis

Question # 2

Explanation # 2


Many questions on standardized exams go beyond simply recognizing the underlying topic. Often there are specific testable facts regarding some aspect of the topic’s pathophysiology/management/clinical implications that are commonly asked. Some of these are listed below:

  • Causal pathogen: Toxoplasma gondii which is orally ingested 
    • Oocysts that are found in cat feces
    • Cysts that are present in undercooked meat (such as pork or lamb)


Page Updated: 03.28.2017