This picture shows what this parasite cell looks like inside the brain of a mouse.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite that is known as Toxoplasma gondii. Unknowingly, more than 60 million people in the United States have this parasite, however most of them don't get sick.

Yes, the cat can in fact have toxoplasmosis. In fact, the parasite can live in the flesh of many different animals, including the prey of a cat, a mouse or a cow, which we eat a lot. If a cat eats an infected mouse, it can eventually spread to you when you come in contact with cat feces. Or, if a human eats contaminated meat that is raw or not well cooked, you could get toxoplasmosis.

This is just a silly video that shows cats and a couple different things they can do to spread the parasite in your homes.

This video shows the toxoplasma life cycle, and how it gets spread from the cat to the humans and back again.

Though it seems like a horrible disease, it really only affects people with weakened immune systems and babies. The incubation period is  1-3 weeks and symptoms differ depending on you. If you have a strong and healthy immune system, symptoms are mild, like headache, mild illness with fever, muscle pain, and sore throat. However, for people with weakened immune systems it can be harsher, like confusion, fever, headache, blurred vision, and seizures.

This little cartoon basically says that when you are pregnant, you have to make sure that you be careful around your cat, so you do not get toxoplasmosis and spread it to your baby.

How to prevent Toxoplasmosis:

  • Avoid eating under-cooked and raw meats
  • Freeze meat to -4 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 days
  • Wash hands, surfaces, and utensils thoroughly with soap and water after contact with raw meat
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with cat feces or soil that is contaminated with cat feces
  • Pregnant women should avoid contact with cat feces and take the precautions listed above to prevent illness
  • All HIV-infected people should get tested for antibody to Toxoplasma soon after their HIV infection is diagnosed

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