Toxoplasmosis: A Pregnancy Cat-astrophe!

You can keep your kitty, but pregnant women should avoid changing the kitty litter. Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite, and can be a serious problem during pregnancy.

Everyone can be affected by toxoplasmosis, but it is usually not a problem for non-pregnant adults, who will simply feel like they have a mild flu. However, in the immuno-suppressed patient (such as a pregnant woman) or a newborn, it can cause serious illness, prematurity, miscarriage or death.

Cats are the primary host of the Toxoplasma parasite.  Cats then excrete the Toxoplasma pathogen in their feces, which can be transferred to humans through by hand-to-mouth contact. Although the pathogen has been detected on the fur of cats, it has not been found in an infectious form. (Wikipedia)

It is not necessary to get rid of the cat, contrary to what some people think. Many people who have owned cats have already been exposed to toxoplasmosis. There are screenings available to see if you have been exposed and therefore have developed life-long immunity.

Here’s what you can do to prevent toxoplasmosis in pregnancy:

  • Avoid touching the cat litter
  • Always eat your meats fully cooked
  • Wear gloves when handling soil
  • Wash all produce very well

Speak to your health care practitioner as well as your vet for more information. Very few babies ever have this disease, but it’s important to do everything you can to prevent it.

Info from About.come: Pregnancy & Childbirth.  Visit the pregnancy website for more pregnancy info!

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