Introduction to toxoplasmosis
Are you concerned about catching toxoplasmosis from your cat?
The good news is that your cat is unlikely to transmit this micro-organism to you. A study in the British Medical Journal concluded that contact with cats was not a major risk factor for toxoplasma infection.
Although cats are a link in the transmission of toxoplasmosis, you are more likely to get infected through contact with contaminated soil (from gardening without gloves), eating unwashed fruit or vegetables, or by eating undercooked meat.
Vets who work with cats are no more likely to be infected with toxoplasmosis than the general public, including people who have no contact with cats. At the same time, 20-30 per cent of the population has already been infected with toxoplasmosis, giving most of them lifelong immunity to its effects.
The majority of people infected by the parasite, Toxoplasmosis gondii, or T gondii, will be unaware of it because infection goes unnoticed or causes mild flu-like symptoms.
However, for people with impaired immune systems, such as those undergoing treatment for cancer, transplant patients, those suffering from AIDS, the very young or elderly, toxoplasmosis may be more serious.