Ask the expert…May-June 10
Q: Can you advice me about Toxoplasmosis in cats? Also what is the prevention/ cure for cats and people around them?
– Rajesh Talreja, Mumbai
A: Dr KG Umesh: Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasmosis is usually transmitted from ingestion of undercooked meat, sporulated oocysts (eggs), paratenic hosts, and it can be congenital. Acute toxoplasmosis in pregnant women leads to serious disease and/or defects in the fetus. Disease in cats may cause brain disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, respiratory disease and eye disorders. Cats with symptomatic toxoplasmosis are often immunosuppressed. Prevention: Do not feed raw or undercooked meat to cats, keep cats inside and do not let them hunt. Washing hands with soap and water after handling a cat or contacting any urine, feces or other bodily secretions is one of the simplest and most important means of infectious disease control. Pregnant women should avoid contact with cats and cat feces, which are more than 24 hours old. Do not let the cat lick the person in question, particularly on the face, nor should they handle the cat. Practice good hygiene (wash after handling uncooked meat, wear gloves while gardening, cover sandboxes, clean litter boxes daily. Freeze meat to -20oC (-4oF) for two days or cook meat to 160°F and thoroughly clean areas where raw meat is prepared, wash fruits and vegetables prior to consumption). Keep the cat in good health by having regular examinations by a veterinarian, as well as up-to-date vaccinations and regular fecal exams to check for parasites. Feed a high-quality commercial cat food that does not contain any raw ingredients.