catalyst-toxoplasmosisToxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes the disease Toxoplasmosis and is, at least in Cyprus, primarily found in cats. You have definitely heard people saying ‘don’t go near the dirty cat’ or ‘stay away from the cat or else you are going to get sick’.

Unfortunately, this belief, which is based on misinformation and ignorance on this subject, is embraced by a large group of people here in Cyprus (and not just by people with a lower educational level as one would think). This misinformation-myth is passed down from generation to generation, from parents to children, and it has created a huge fear and an unjust hatred towards cats. This is one of the major reasons why cats and other animals are continuously poisoned and abused in this country.

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The exact data concerning Toxoplasmosis are listed below:

(a) Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that might be found in raw meat or uncooked and unwashed vegetables.

 

(b) People are more likely to be infected by the parasite by eating meat that is not cooked well, or by eating greens and vegetables that are not washed well. Possible infection typically causes a mild, flu-like illness or no illness (except in rare cases it may be something more serious). After that antibodies are created and there are no consequences, unless a woman is pregnant. However, if the pregnant woman has previously been exposed and has developed antibodies to the parasite, then the unborn fetus’ safety is ensured.

 

(c) Nowadays it is highly unlikely to be infected by a cat as most cats do not eat raw meat anymore, but canned and dry food. However, even if a cat is infected, the disease can only be transmitted within 15 days, and only if the contaminated cat feces reach the stomach of a human, that is not very likely.