The issue of toxoplasmosis has been close to my heart recently so I decided to look into it and check if it is indeed as serious as often presented.
Let’s start with the facts: toxoplasmosis is caused by parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. This disease is dangerous for women because of its consequences if undergone during pregnancy. It can cause miscarriage or damage fetus. The earlier in the pregnancy we get infected the worst the consequences. You could be considered lucky to get toxoplasmosis before pregnancy as this gives your body time to learn to fight the disease and produce antibodies so you will not have to worry as much when you are pregnant. If you did not catch toxoplasmosis before pregnancy and you are expecting now it does not mean you need to kick your cats out but you do need to be careful. First of all, now you have a perfect excuse to dump the duty of cleaning the litter box on your partner. The Toxoplasma gondii cysts, which are dangerous to us, are excreted with cat feces. Although most of the cats are infected, in fact only about 1% has cysts in their feces. Also despite of containing cysts, fresh feces are not dangerous to us but they become so after 1 to 5 days after excretion so the litter box needs to be cleaned daily.
But not only litter box and the cats are a threat. We shouldn’t eat raw or undercooked meat and we should diligently wash fruit and vegetables as they could have been in contact with infected feces. I wouldn’t recommend drinking fresh milk straight from a cow as it could cause the diseases as well.
Just be careful and always think of what you are doing. I write about this because I’m pregnant and people are often surprised seeing what I do and ask me if I’m not afraid. And sure I am afraid but cats are my passion, just like photography, and I’m not planning to give them up because of fear. I act carefully and I know what I can and cannot do and I hope for the best.
When I was a child I often heard of women who gave up their cats because of fear of toxoplasmosis. Even then I knew that something was wrong with picture. Now that we have free access to information I hope that nobody gives up cats as it simply proves their ignorance and laziness.