Thursday, February 21, 2008

Toxoplasmosis Prevention

The CDC posted a new link last month on prevention and control for people who are healthy to follow the guidelines to reduce risk of toxoplasmosis.

To prevent risk of toxoplasmosis and other infections from food:

  • Cook food to safe temperatures. A food thermometer should be used to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat. Do not sample meat until it is cooked.
    1. Beef, lamb, and veal roasts and steaks should be cooked to at least 145°F throughout.
    2. Pork, ground meat, and wild game should be cooked to 160°F.
    3. Whole poultry should be cooked to 180°F in the thigh.
  • Peel or wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
Washing kitchen counter

Photo courtesy of USDA.

  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, utensils, and hands with hot soapy water after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed fruits or vegetables.
  • Freeze meat for several days before cooking to greatly reduce chance of infection.

To prevent risk of toxoplasmosis from the environment:

  • Avoid drinking untreated drinking water, particularly when traveling in less developed countries.
  • Wear gloves when gardening and during any contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. Wash hands thoroughly after gardening or contact with soil or sand.
  • Keep outdoor sandboxes covered.
  • Feed cats only canned or dried commercial food or well-cooked table food, not raw or undercooked meats.
  • Change the litter box daily If you own a cat. The Toxoplasma parasite does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in a cat's feces. If you are pregnant or immunocompromised:
Woman and man with cat

(CDC Photo)

  1. Avoid changing cat litter if possible. If no one else can perform the task, wear disposable gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water afterwards.
  2. Keep cats indoors.
  3. Do not adopt or handle stray cats, especially kittens. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant.

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