Toxoplasmosis, A Cat Spread Infection Dangerous for Pregnant Women.
Hello friends and lovers of pets, welcome again to my page and thank you for consistently visiting, if this is your first time, you are also welcome. I would like to share a very serious topic with you today, and I am confident that after you spend time reading about this topic, you will be glad you visited my page, so do not rush to the conclusion aspect, enjoy the not-too-long but educating read (winks). The topic for today is Toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, this infection affects some categories of pet owners, speaking of pets in this context, I am referring to cats.
The infection affects those with a weak immune system and pregnant women who as well can pass the infection to their fetuses. This said parasite causing the infection reproduces in the intestinal tracts of cats, humans could get infected either through direct or indirect contact with the cat's feces (poop) or through the consumption of under-cooked meat. A lot of people do not show symptoms instantly after infection, but as the immune system begins to attack the parasite, it forms cysts in the body, these parasites could remain inactive in the formed cysts and then get reactivated later. So in some cases, an individual with a sound immune system could have an infection and not even know about it as the sound immune system fights in defense, however, toxoplasmosis is more dangerous in pregnant women and in people with a weak immune system like those who have cancer or HIV. While the infection is spread through contact with the poop of an infected cat, it is necessary to bear in mind that, owning a cat does not directly increase your chances of getting the infection.
The exciting path about toxoplasmosis is that, it is not contagious and once you have been cured of it once, it is almost impossible to catch it again, but if you get toxoplasmosis during pregnancy or before you get pregnant, it is possible to pass it through the placenta to the fetus, which would increase the risk of getting a miscarriage, stillbirth or severe health issues for the unborn child and when a child is born with the complications of toxoplasmosis, it will bring about issues such as; developmental delays, blindness, vision problems, and learning differences, so while the adult may be safe, the innocent unborn child may significantly suffer for it. It can also be spread through an organ transplant or blood transfusion, although this is very rare but highly possible.
Details on how humans contact toxoplasmois.
Toxoplasmosis is gotten typically through ingestion of an item contaminated with the parasite T.gondii, this parasite reproduces in the intestine of a cat and ends up in the poop of the cat. Cat poop can contaminate soil, the food that humans consume as well as plant materials. Humans can accidentally ingest T.gondii after coming in contact with a contaminated item like;
- Consuming vegetables and fruits that are unwashed.
- Consuming improperly refrigerated meat or eating the undercooked meat.
- Having a garden in soils where cats live.
- A cat's litter box.
- Consuming water without appropriate treatment.
Some of the visible symptoms of toxoplasmosis when they show up are highly dependent on regions where the parasite is active, which is different depending on the active region of the parasite, it differs on whether it is a new/acute infection or congenital which is a type of infection reactivation that is passed on from mother to offspring.
With ocular toxoplasmosis, one or both eyes are infected, this is more common in teens or young adults, who were born with T.gondii infection. The symptoms of ocular toxoplasmosis are; Eye pain, blindness, and blurred vision.
In a case of Acute toxoplasmosis, is the response of the body to an infection of T.gondii. Most people with this infection do not usually feel sick, but you may begin to show symptoms like; Muscle ache, fever, fatigue, sore throat, as well as spleen and enlarged liver.
A case of Reactivated toxoplasmosis symptoms happens when you have a weak immune system, you could have a previous T.gondii infection that gets reactivated when your body is unable to fight off infection easily, this category of infection affects those with AIDS, cancer or those who take medications suppressing the immune system, a case of reactivated toxoplasmosis would cause brain and spinal cord symptoms, the symptoms include; Fever, seizures, headaches, change in vision, facial paralysis, coma, numbness, loss or weakness of motor skills and toxoplasmic encephalitis.
Congenital toxoplasmosis is when the infection is passed down from a pregnant woman to her fetus, some times the baby would not show symptoms at birth, but there is a chance of the child showing symptoms later on, the symptoms include; Rash, and calcium deposits in the brain, jaundice, enlarged liver and spleen, seizures, delay in the development of motor skills.
To diagnose toxoplasmosis, a physical examination will be carried out to ask about the symptoms felt, the health expert could order biopsies, blood tests, lumbar puncture, and in the case of a pregnant woman, amniocentesis or ultrasound will be used for physical test.
You definitely shouldn't be scared of getting a cat because of toxoplasmosis, instead, you should;
- Avoid the consumption of unpasteurized milk.
- Wash your vegetables and fruit appropriately before consumption.
- Make it a constant habit to wear your gloves while working in a garden, or working with sand or soil, even with a glove, wash your hands with water and soap after all.
- Ensure that your cats are not allowed to randomly roam around, as much as you can keep them in a safe place.
- Immediately, stop eating undercooked or cured meat
As much as we love our pets, we cannot completely ignore the fact that this infection can be spread to us through our lovely pets, so when you are pregnant or when you have your immune system compromised (see details above), then you should not change your pet's litter by yourself if that's possible, but in a case where you cannot get anyone to assist with that, then you must put on always wear disposable gloves and remember to thoroughly wash your hands afterward, then also try not to adopt a new cat or take in a new cat.
Once your child has been diagnosed with toxoplasmosis, as a parent/guardian, you have to keep your eye on the symptoms, whether you have a prescribed treatment or you do not remember that you should instantly call your healthcare provider, the moment you do not see your condition gets improved or it gets worse. In a case where your child was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis from birth, then you have to work with a pediatrician to ensure appropriate treatment.
There is no need to get rid of your cat if you have a weak immune system or you are pregnant, all you need to do is to take the necessary precautions required to protect yourself from toxoplasmosis as mentioned in this post.
When i was very young, i heard that cats when cough contain some fluid which maybe be ooze out and when we inhale could be dangerous. I've really learnt something here.
My friend, there has been so much myth about animals, some are true while others are not, we need, we need scientific backings to be sure of whatsoever we hear.
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From myths to real objective truth. An amazing approach into a very real condition. Nicely done, @futurekr
Appreciate your time @freakshow90