Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microbe called Toxoplasma gondii. You can get infected from eating undercooked meat or touching cat poop or a litter box. Although it is a common parasite, very few people have symptoms because a healthy immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing an infection. However, toxoplasmosis can cause health problems to pregnant women and their babies.
If you get in contact with the parasite while:
It usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, that is why people who have the disease may not know they have it.
But other people have reported flu-like symptoms such as:
If you are pregnant and presenting some of the above symptoms it doesn’t mean for sure that you are infected by toxoplasma, but you should definitely pay a visit to your doctor for an examination.
If a woman is affected by the disease before or during her pregnancy, she may pass it on to the baby too, even if not having any symptoms. The risk of passing the infection to the baby depends on how far along in the pregnancy the woman was while she was infected. The later it is (third trimester), the more likely it is that the baby will also get infected.
But the earlier in pregnancy you get infected, the more serious the baby’s problems may be after birth. For example, babies could have damage to the liver, brain and eyes, and 50% of those who are infected with toxoplasmosis during the pregnancy are born early (preterm).
If you are infected during your pregnancy there are certain antibiotics that can help reduce the risk of the fetus to be infected too. Always consult with your doctor for the best course of action.
It is unusual for indoor cats to carry toxoplasmosis, especially if they are taken care of correctly by their owners. What you can do for your favorite pet and for you to be safe, is to always feed it with commercial dry or canned food, never raw meat, and keep it indoors so to not get in contact with other stray animals.
Having a pet around the house may be a great asset for your future child, but you should be careful to set boundaries and take care of the animals in the correct way.
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