Thursday, February 24, 2011

All cats are not created equal

Can I "catch" toxoplasmosis from my cat?
Because cats only shed the organism for a few days in their entire life, the chance of human exposure is small. Owning a cat does not mean you will be infected with the disease. It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat, because cats usually do not carry the parasite on their fur. It is also unlikely that you can become infected through cat bites or scratches. In addition, cats kept indoors that do not hunt prey or are not fed raw meat are not likely to be infected with T. gondii.
In the United States, people are much more likely to become infected through eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables than from handling cat feces. 
From Cornell Feline Health Center's Toxoplasmosis brochure.

On the other hand because cats are the definitive host ONLY cats shed oocysts. This means that all infected meat, fruit and vegetables must ultimately have been contaminated from oocysts shed in cat faeces. Even though cats may only shed oocysts for a short while they can last a long time in the environment. Your domestic kitty may not be responsible for the environmental oocyst contamination but some kitty is....

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