Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a common infection, which is caused by a parasite that can be found in undercooked or raw meat, raw cured meat such as parma ham or salami, cat faeces or soil which a cat has used, unpasteurised goats’ milk or products made from it, unwashed fruit and vegetables. It can cause a mild flu-like illness, which many people aren’t aware of with up to half of the UK population infected by it at some time, making them immune for life. It’s possible to become infected by any of the following ways:

• eating the organism in soil or water that has been contaminated with cat faeces
• eating the organism in undercooked or raw meat from infected animals
• drinking unpasteurised sheep or goats’ milk
• infected matter entering human body fluids, for example during lambing if fluid splashes into eyes or open cuts

It can’t be passed from person to person, so you won’t pass it on to your baby by breastfeeding. It can be passed from a pregnant mum to her baby either during pregnancy or up to three months before she conceives and it can cause serious defects to the unborn baby. Mums-to-be are therefore generally given the following advice:

• cats are the only animals that can have infected faeces and it is for this reason that it is advised to avoid
  handling cat litter and avoid gardening where cats may have defecated
• wash your hands thoroughly after handling or preparing raw meat
• wash fruit and vegetables before eating
• avoid any activities involving lambing – wear gloves if handling clothing that has been worn for that purpose

If you would like more support and advice just get in touch with our Careline
on 0800 977 8880

Glossary

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