Toxoplasmosis and why you shouldn’t panic.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the presence of the parasite “gondii”. If contracted, the average healthy human readily keeps the disease at bay, by developing immunities to it. In fact, you may already have. Some 30% and 50%, of the world’s population play host to the “gondii” parasite. Its per capita prevalence varies from country to country, with France topping the list at 84%. Presently, some 60 to 70 million Americans carry the parasite.
You might therefore ask. “What if I already have the parasite, won’t it affect my unborn baby?” That’s highly unlikely and extremely rare since your body has already built up immunities against it. The risk is in contracting the parasite during pregnancy, or within 9 months of becoming pregnant.
So how does someone contract the parasite? By directly, or indirectly ingesting something contaminated with it, such as raw or under cooked meat, unwashed fruits or vegetables, even through touching your mouth, after working in garden soil or sand and through contact with cat feces.
The life cycle of the “gondii” parasite. Courtesy of Neurowiki.
So unless you know that you already have toxoplasmosis, you should take the necessary precautions, to avoid contracting it. Following these simple precautions should eliminate any concerns you may have.
- Cook meats thoroughly and thoroughly wash your hands after handling.
- Wash raw fruits & vegetables and thoroughly wash your hands after handling.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with sand or soil.
- Avoid contact with stray cats and kittens.
- Feed your cat commercial dry or canned food, not raw or undercooked meats.
- Keep your cats indoors.
- Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.
- Have someone else change the cat litter.
- Change the litter frequently, on a daily basis, as the parasite does not become infectious for 1 to 5 days, after being excreted from the cat.
- If you do elect to change the cat litter, then where gloves while doing so and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water thereafter. You might also want to take the added precaution of wearing a mask while changing the litter.
Heres’ some facts on Toxoplasmosis, that might help you not to worry so much.
- It is not communicable; you can not catch it from other people. (of a disease) able to be transmitted from one sufferer to another; contagious or infectious
- If your cat doesn’t go outside, there’s not much to worry about.
- If you follow the simple precautions mentioned herein, you should be fine.
- No other pets can be a source. Cats (felines) are the only known host where the parasite can sexually reproduce.
So take reasonable precautions, relax and look forward to that wonderful happy and healthy baby you’re going to have :-).