Toxoplasmosis Essay

1102 words - 5 pages

Everyone in the world is susceptible to the illness known as Toxoplasmosis; in fact more than a half of the world’s population is infected with it (uchospitals.edu). It is caused by a parasite smaller than a human cell known as toxoplasma gondii, which is most commonly found in most cats. The parasite only reproduces inside cats; cysts, which are what the parasite produces, are found throughout the host’s body. They can be found anywhere from muscles to the heart and brain, but they are usually dormant because the host usually develops an immunity to the cysts and isn’t affected by them. Though, as the ASPCA states, “T. gondii can live in the body in dormant form and can cause toxoplasmosis ...view middle of the document...

Without specific screening, toxoplasmosis is often difficult to diagnose …” The fetus seems to get the worse of the symptoms, the CDC says, “ Most infected infants do not have symptoms at birth but can develop serious symptoms later in life, such as blindness or mental disability. Occasionally infected newborns have serious eye or brain damage at birth. Medicine is available to reverse its effects, and also to stop the effects it has on the fetus; it does not terminate the dormant cysts, so it is possible to become infected again. It is also very unlikely that transmission of the illness can happen through breastfeeding. ” The Cornell Feline Health Center gives us a more descriptive overview;

“The most common symptoms of toxoplasmosis include fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. … can lead to pneumonia, which will cause respiratory distress of gradually increasing severity. … can also effect the eyes and central nervous system, producing inflammation of the retina or anterior ocular chamber, abnormal pupil size and responsiveness to light, blindness, in coordination, heightened sensitivity to touch, personality changes, … difficulty in chewing and swallowing food, seizures, and loss of control over urination and defecation.”

The feces of a cat is not the only place this parasite is found. Not only humans, but any warm-blooded animal is susceptible to it. Most get it from eating contaminate soil or plants, or even other infected animals. T. gondii can be found in the raw meat humans eat on a daily basis. If a sheep eats infected grass, or if a pig eats the infected slop an owner gives it, it can be transported through that animal to the human. Just as easy as it can be gotten, it can be prevented. Cooking the meat at the FDA’s standards, which is usually 165 degrees Fahrenheit, will kill the parasite and make the meat safe.
Vegetables need just as much caution as raw meat. It is safe to say that some animal has defecated in or near a person’s home garden, whether it is a bird, rabbit, or any other warm-blooded animal. “… it may be transferred from a cat to garden soil, to a vegetable in the garden, and finally to someone who eats the vegetable (uchospital.edu).” If the vegetable is not washed thoroughly...

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