We were recently asked about Toxoplasmosis and the dangers this protozoa poses to humans, particularly pregnant women. So, this month we are going to find out all about it and what precautions you need to take to keep yourself and your unborn baby safe!
And no, you don’t need to find a new home for your beloved cats!
Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, one of the most common protozoan parasites in the world. It is able to infect a wide range of hosts and different host cells.
HOW DO I GET TOXOPLASMOSIS?
To become infected with toxoplasmosis you must accidently eat the parasite!
THEREFORE, THE CHANCES OF BECOMING INFECTED WITH TOXOPLASMOSIS FROM EATING OR HANDLING RAW OR UNDERCOOKED PORK IS MUCH GREATER THAN YOU CONTRACTING IT FROM CAT FAECES!
Studies have shown that approximately 50% of humans infected with toxoplasmosis, contracted the disease through:
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I HAVE TOXOPLASMOSIS?
Generally speaking healthy people who become infected show no signs or symptoms. The few that do will present with flu like symptoms.
However, for those with weakened immune systems (e.g.; HIV/AIDS, cancer patients) it can cause serious complications. If you are pregnant and become infected it is possible to pass toxoplasmosis onto your unborn baby.
A SIMPLE BLOOD TEST CAN DETERMINE WHETHER YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO TOXOPLASMOSIS.
If you are thinking of starting a family it may be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM INFECTION?
PRACTICING GOOD HHYGIENEWHEN PREPARING AND HANDLING FOOD WILL HELP TO PROTECT YOU.
If you are healthy, once you have been infected with toxoplasmosis your immune system kicks in by keeping the parasites inactive and providing you with lifelong immunity.