How to prevent toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis, a zoonosis (disease transmitted to humans by animals), consists of an infection caused by a parasite, known as Toxoplasma gondii.
This parasite reproduces in the intestinal cells of cats, and the parasite's eggs are excreted in the cat's faeces.
Toxoplasmosis does not normally cause symptoms or signs due to the responsiveness of the immune system. In mild cases, the symptoms of toxoplasmosis are:
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits;
- Feeling unwell;
- Muscle aches;
- Sore throat;
Causes of toxoplasmosis
The transmission of toxoplasmosis occurs essentially through:
- The ingestion of raw or undercooked food that contains the parasite in its inactive form (cyst);
- Contact with water or soil contaminated with cat faeces that contain parasite eggs;
How to prevent toxoplasmosis?
Preventive measures for toxoplasmosis are related to food and the environment.
Reduce the risk of transmission through food:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing food, especially after handling raw meat;
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, and kitchen utensils thoroughly with soap and water after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, or unwashed vegetables;
- Wash raw foods carefully (meat and lettuce, carrots, among other vegetables);
- Peel or wash fruit well before eating;
- Cook your food properly;
- Avoid unpasteurized dairy products;
- Do not eat oysters, clams, mussels, or sushi;
- Do not drink water that is not potable;
Reduce the risk of transmission through the environment:
- When gardening, wear gardening gloves and always wash your hands with soap and water after contact with the soil;
- Avoid contact with cats;
- Litter boxes must be cleaned daily;
- Keep the outside cat litter boxes always covered;
- Feed cats with suitable foods such as canned or dry foods;
- Avoid feeding cats raw or undercooked meat.
Cats are agents of transmission of toxoplasmosis. Their infection occurs through the ingestion of rodents or small animals and they eliminate the parasite in the faeces.
Normally, healthy people recover from toxoplasmosis without having to resort to treatment. However, those who have health problems may need to use drugs for treatment. To do this, it is necessary to evaluate each case individually.
Toxoplasmosis and Pregnancy
The toxoplasmosis screening occurs during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, toxoplasmosis is screened. If the woman is not immune, the screening is repeated in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
If there is no immunity to toxoplasmosis, it is necessary to take measures to prevent infection during pregnancy.
Infection with Toxoplasma gondii during pregnancy can lead to complications for the foetus, as the infection can be transmitted to the foetus through the placenta, and lead to spontaneous abortion, diseases of the nervous system and eyes.
If you are pregnant some extra care is needed. In addition to the afore mentioned food care, you must:
- Avoid changing the cat litter box if it is not possible to use disposable gloves and wash your hands with soap and water; Keep cats indoors to avoid infection with Toxoplasma gondii;
- Feed the cat dry or canned food, avoiding raw or undercooked meat;
- Do not adopt a cat or play with stray cats while you are pregnant.
Farmácia Distribuição Magazine
Também lhe poderá interessar