The question you may ask, what is Toxoplasmosis? It is described as an infection due to a single-celled parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii (T.gondii). Toxoplasmosis can affect all warm-blooded animals including pets and humans, especially cats.
Humans are affected through some faulty blood transfusions and/or organ transplants, contaminated soil, poor handling of a cat’s litter box, or eating raw meats. A pregnant woman can pass this on to her unborn child through the placenta so precautions should be exercised during pregnancy.
Some of the symptoms could be enlarged lymph nodes, headache, aches, pains, sore throat, possible fever, and may be as serious as confusion and seizures. If you do have a cat, the possibilities are there for the Toxoplasmosis . . . but it does not mean you have to get rid of your cat, or put your cat outside just because you are pregnant. Contracting this disease from your cat is very unlikely so you do not need to make any harsh decisions.
A cat contracts this parasite from eating raw meats, birds, mice or soil. The parasite is then released into the cat’s digestive tract. Once the cat is infected he usually acquires immunity and can rarely get re-infected. It is only during the cat’s 1st exposure to the parasite that there may be a problem and the parasite is not infectious for one to five days. The parasite produces oocysts (eggs), which are very resistant and can survive in the environment for up to a year.
If you have a strictly indoor cat that eats healthy cat food with no chance of consuming raw meats, mice, etc. should have no problems attracting Toxoplasmosis. There are of course, some precautions you can take in this regard, especially if you are pregnant. Most precautions involve cleanliness.
Change your cat’s litter box very often and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after doing so. To make the situation better, wear disposable gloves when changing the litter and then toss them out with the litter. Still wash your hands. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Avoid eating any raw meats. Be sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables very well before consumption. If you are working with soil, again, wear the disposable gloves. I love the surgical type gloves because they seem to fit the best on my hands, like a second skin, then when you are done with your “chore”, you can just toss them out. You can buy them in boxes of at least 50 counts so they are relatively inexpensive . . . and certainly well worth the cost to protect yourself from any diseases and/or parasites.
If for some reason you do suspect you have contracted the parasite somehow, consult your doctor immediately. It can easily be treated with antibiotics, even if you are pregnant. However, a few precautions as discussed above will more than likely keep you in a safe state and you do not need to get rid of your precious cat. Precautions do go a very long way, for you, your family and your pets.