When the Phoenicians and Egyptians set out to domesticate wild cats 10,000 years ago, they could never have imagined the success of lolcats. But what even our ancestors didn’t know was that they were setting the stage for the global spread of a sometimes fatal and often anxiety-provoking disease for pregnant women: toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasmosis is a common infectious disease, caused by a microscopic parasite: Toxoplasma gondii. In over 80% of cases the infection goes completely unnoticed or at most causes fever and prolonged tiredness. And the good news is, it’s “immunizing,” in other words: you only take it once. Unfortunately, not everyone is in the same boat: for example, in people whose immune systems are failing, the parasite can trigger serious brain, eye or even lung complications. This risk also affects the fetus: when a pregnant woman is infected, the parasite can cross the placental barrier and cause congenital toxoplasmosis. The earlier it occurs during pregnancy, the more serious its consequences can be: stillbirth of the fetus, premature birth, neurological sequelae, etc.
That’s why pregnant women who are not immune to it T. gondii you have to be vigilant. They are particularly suitable for thoroughly cleaning fruit, vegetables and aromatic plants intended to be eaten raw, for cooking their meat thoroughly, for washing your hands thoroughly, especially after a gardening session… and for keeping away from cats and their litter!
In truth, they should be wary of all felines, although it must be admitted that few of them go hand in hand with tigers, lions or leopards. Cats and their cousins are indeed essential guests for T. gondii : these are the only animals in which it can ensure its sexual reproduction, a guarantee of its long-term survival. Once this is done, the infected Felidae disseminate the progeny of the parasite in the environment, through their excrement. Other animals, and humans, can then become infected by ingesting contaminated soil or water or by consuming meat (raw or undercooked) from an animal that is itself contaminated. So in the end, without felines, there would be no toxoplasmosis.
” But the felidae, there are many! Are we really entirely certain that our adorable petichats are the main culprits in this story? 😿 » Well yes, it’s proven now! In Limoges, researchers of a team insert they just proved it the evolution and spread of T. gondii are closely related to those of domestic cats. No thanks cats!
🧠 Although toxoplasmosis is generally benign, various data suggest that it could contribute to the development of psychiatric diseases, such as depression, bipolar disorder or even schizophrenia. A must read article on this topic : https://bit.ly/3gZRhio 👈
📖 And for more information about toxoplasmosis, its diagnosis, treatment and ways to avoid it, consult your health insurance file.