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Avatar universal

Toxsoplasma, pregnancy and cats


I am 6 weeks pregnant and unfortunately i am not immune to the Toxoplasma virus, since i was found negative to it, both now and in the past.

I raise 3 lovely cats and know that this means that my Husband needs to be in charge of cleaning their litter box (which they don't have now since we have a back yard).

I would like to know if other then not cleaning cat's litter box, should a pregnant woman be careful of kissing or hugging her cats?

They sleep with us in our bed and we hug and kiss them alot.

my logic tells me that there is no reason to avoid touching them, as long as i stay away of their toilet business...  After all, Cats are very very clean.  

Thank you.
4 Responses
7641974 tn?1395288241
I think its fine to let them sleep in the bed with you. Even if they don't you get covered in their hair anyway so what's the difference? If they are indoor cats only that would probably reduce their exposure to diseases that they can inherently pass on to you.

I'd recommend having a litter box indoors as well..
Also make sure your cats are spay and neutered please :)
Avatar universal
Thanks, my cats don't have a litter box, they do their stool in the back yard. My only concern is kissing them on the mouth.
234713 tn?1283526659
Cats, if infected with toxoplasmosis, only shed the disease for 2 weeks or so in feces during their life time.  Since your cats go outside they can become infected at any time  (if not already infected).  Your veterinarian can diagnosis Toxoplasmosis through a blood test and your cats can be treated for the parasitic disease with Clindamycin antibiotics.

Please check the following article from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/toxoplasmosis.cfm

Can I "catch" toxoplasmosis from my cat?

Because cats only shed the organism for a few days in their entire life, the chance of human exposure is small. Owning a cat does not mean you will be infected with the disease. It is unlikely that you would be exposed to the parasite by touching an infected cat, because cats usually do not carry the parasite on their fur. It is also unlikely that you can become infected through cat bites or scratches. In addition, cats kept indoors that do not hunt prey or are not fed raw meat are not likely to be infected with T. gondii.

In the United States, people are much more likely to become infected through eating raw meat and unwashed fruits and vegetables than from handling cat feces.

How are people infected with Toxoplasma gondii?

Contact with oocyst-contaminated soil is probably the major means by which many different species—rodents, ground-feeding birds, sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle, as well as humans living in developing countries—are exposed to Toxoplasma gondii. In the industrialized nations, most transmission to humans is probably due to eating undercooked infected meat, particularly lamb and pork. People also become infected by eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. The organism can sometimes be present in some unpasteurized dairy products, such as goat's milk. Toxoplasma gondii can also be transmitted directly from pregnant woman to unborn child when the mother becomes infected during pregnancy.

There are two populations at high risk for infection with Toxoplasma gondii; pregnant women and immunodeficient individuals. Congenital infection is of greatest concern in humans. About one-third to one-half of human infants born to mothers who have acquired Toxoplasma during that pregnancy are infected. The vast majority of women infected during pregnancy have no symptoms of the infection themselves. The majority of infected infants will show no symptoms of toxoplasmosis at birth, but many are likely to develop signs of infection later in life. Loss of vision, mental retardation, loss of hearing, and death in severe cases, are the symptoms of toxoplasmosis in congenitally infected children.

In immunodeficient people—those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy (e.g., for cancer or organ transplantation) or those with an immunosuppressive disease such as AIDS—enlargement of the lymph nodes, ocular and central nervous-system disturbances, respiratory disease, and heart disease are among the more characteristic symptoms. In these patients—especially those with AIDS—relapses of the disease are common, and the mortality rate is high. In the past, immunodeficient people and pregnant women were advised to avoid cats. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now advises that this is not necessary.

What can I do to prevent toxoplasmosis?

There are several general sanitation and food safety steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming infected with Toxoplasma:

•Do not eat raw or undercooked meat. Meat should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160°F for 20 minutes.

•Do not drink unpasteurized milk.

•Do not eat unwashed fruits and vegetables.

•Wash hands and food preparation surfaces with warm soapy water after handling raw meat.

•Wear gloves when gardening. Wash hands after gardening.

•Wash hands before eating (especially for children).

•Keep children's sandboxes covered.

•Do not drink water from the environment unless it is boiled.

•Do not feed raw meat or undercooked meat to cats. Also, do not give them unpasteurized milk.

•Do not allow cats to hunt or roam.

•Do not allow cats to use a garden or children's play area as their litter box.

•Remove feces from the litter box daily and clean with boiling or scalding water.

•Pregnant women, and persons with suppressed immune systems, should not clean the litter box.

•Control rodent populations and other potential intermediate hosts
Avatar universal
Thank you. So as long as i don't come in contact with their feces, everything is fine. I am not going to change any of my habits with them, kissing, hugging and so on. good to know :)

By the way, they do not hunt since they have bells on their collars, so mice and birds can hear them coming.  
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