Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE TOXOPLASMOSIS WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is a condition caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Able to thrive inside the cells of humans and other animals, T. gondii is a protozoan, meaning that each organism consists of just one cell, but it is a very complex cell, just like the cells of animals and plants. Being very complex, T. gondii has two different life cycles. One such cycle, called the asexual cycle, occurs in many different types of animals, including humans. The other cycle, called the sexual cycle, occurs only in the intestines of cats. Since the sexual cycle produces eggs, it is possible to develop toxoplasmosis from handling kitty litter, or from drinking water that has been contaminated with cat feces. For this reason, pregnant women, and women who are trying to become pregnant, are often advised to leave handling kitty litter to other people in the household. While it may be prudent to follow this advise, it’s also important to know that kitty litter is NOT the usual way that people become infected with T. gondii. Rather, a much more common way to develop toxoplasmosis is by eating or handling uncooked meat, or by eating unwashed vegetables.


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