Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that affects all warm-blooded animals, cats being the definitive host capable of spreading oocysts. The cats get sick from eating raw meat, then the parasite multiplies in the intestine and eggs (oocysts) are eliminated in the faeces over a period of 15-20 days, with this stage of the life cycle risk of infection for man . This situation can occur when consumed undercooked meat, unwashed or when handling contaminated land where there is cat feces vegetables. It is impossible to contract toxoplasmosis by saliva or nails of cats, not to stroke the cat as being very hygienic animals do not usually have hair contaminated with fecal matter. Finally it is noteworthy that in these animals the disease course may have asymptomatic or manifest clinically with diarrheas.
How to prevent transmission to humans?
- Remove feces from litter tray daily.
- Feeding cats with balanced food or cooked meat, avoiding the ingestion of raw meat and viscera.
- Always use gloves when doing yard work, gardening and cleaning the litter tray.
- Avoid contamination of gardens, orchards and sandboxes with cat feces.
- Wash vegetables thoroughly before consuming it.
- Avoid ingestion of undercooked red meat.
Please note: The most common source of infection for humans is ingestion of undercooked or “juicy” meat, as well as unwashed vegetables. Living with a cat does not mean risk for the owner, provided that proper nutrition and good hygiene litter box further.