Toxoplasmosis is a prevalent form of infection that can be acquired from feces of infected meat or from infected feces of cats. The condition is typically harmless but can cause serious issues in some individuals.
Do I have toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis does not typically trigger any symptoms, and most are not even aware that they have the condition.
Some develop flu-like symptoms such as the following:
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Feeling sick
- Enlarged glands
In case symptoms arise, they generally settle within 6 weeks. Once the individual had the condition, he/she is immune to it for life.
When to consult a doctor
It is vital to consult a doctor if pregnant or the immune system is weakened. It is important to note that toxoplasmosis is generally harmless, but it can lead to serious issues in rare instances.
One is at higher risk if these contributing factors are present:
- Acquired the infection during pregnancy – toxoplasmosis can result to miscarriage. If it spreads to the child, it can lead to serious complications especially if acquired in the early phase of pregnancy
- Weakened immune system – if an individual is diagnosed with HIV or under chemotherapy
The parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis is present in the feces of infected cats and infected meat. It can be acquired from soil that has been contaminated by feces.
For those who are pregnant or have a weakened immune system, the following must be observed:
- Use gloves while gardening
- Thoroughly wash hands before preparing food and eating
- Wash knives, chopping boards and surfaces used thoroughly after preparing raw meat
- Fruits and vegetables must be carefully washed to eliminate any traces of soil
- Gloves must be used when emptying the cat litter tray and make sure that it is emptied daily
- Avoid eating raw or poorly cooked meat and cured meats.