ANSWERS: 5
  • I have never heard that. I gave birth to two boys in 4 years, and always had cats, and kittens. I never got ill from the kitty litter box, or any kind of cat feces.
  • Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. The parasite infects most warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family. Animals are infected by eating infected meat, by contact with cat faeces, or by transmission from mother to fetus. The most common means of transmission to humans is raw or undercooked meat. The illness is usually minor and self-limited. Between 30% and 60% of the world population is estimated to carry a Toxoplasma infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that overall seroprevalence in the United States as determined with specimens collected by the third National Health and Nutritional Assessment Survey (NHANES III) between 1988 and 1994 was found to be 22.5%, with seroprevalence among women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years) of 15%. During the first few weeks, the infection typically causes a mild flu-like illness or no illness. After the first few weeks of infection have passed, the parasite rarely causes any symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. However, people with a weakened immune system, such as those infected with HIV, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal. The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and neurologic diseases and can affect the heart, liver, and eyes (chorioretinitis). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis Pregnancy precautions: Congenital toxoplasmosis is a special form in which an unborn child is infected via the placenta. This is the reason that pregnant women should be checked for Toxoplasma antibodies. A positive titer indicates previous exposure and immunity and largely ensures the unborn baby's safety. If a woman receives her first exposure to Toxoplasma while pregnant, the baby is at particular risk. A woman with no previous exposure should avoid handling raw meat, exposure to cat faeces, and gardening (cat faeces are common in garden soil). Most cats are not actively shedding oocysts and so are not a danger, but the risk may be reduced further by having the litterbox emptied daily (oocysts require longer than a single day to become infective), and by having someone else empty the litterbox. Treatment is very important for recently infected pregnant women, to prevent infection of the fetus. Since a baby's immune system does not develop fully for the first year of life, and the resilient cysts that form throughout the body are very difficult to eradicate with antiprotozoans, an infection can be very serious in the young.
  • If you have owned cats and cleaned their litter trays for years you are not likely to be in any danger because you have already been exposed to toxoplasmosis. The toxoplasmosis organism is a danger to fetuses of women who have not been exposed. The pregnant woman may contract what feels like a mild fever but the effect on the fetus can be deadly. To be safe, while pregnant, have someone else clean out the litter tray.
  • http://www.straightdope.com/columns/060127.html this answers the question.
  • Whatever your cravings may be, don't eat em.

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