The Dude Abides said...
Thanks for bumping, blue. Your comments made me think about something Georgia Hunter (GH) wrote to me a few months ago. I get these bad sore throats -- in the FRONT of my neck/throat -- around the thyroid area. I believe GH thought it might be protozoan, as he'd dealt with a similar issue. I had a cat for 11 years that slept in bed, under the cover, next to me every night. And, I spent 11 years scooping the litter box. That didn't click with me, until I read your comments. I just looked-up the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis and I have a few. But, of course, most of us do, too, since they overlap with so many other things. Anyway, thanks for your comments. That might be something cheap and easy to test.
When I was younger, I never used to wear gloves when I weeded our flower beds. And there were plenty of nuggets in there from the neighborhood cats.
I got much more careful (paranoid) as I got older....but I think just living with cats - the risk is there.
I've also slept with many cats (lol - that sounds funny) in my lifetime.
sigh...do I dare ask - what are the symptoms, Dude?Your "nugget" comment was funny. You were like a pirate finding buried "treasure."
Last night, I only looked at the "Symptoms" section of a couple of Toxoplasmosis articles. But, more information follows. I omitted all the dire stuff relating to pregnant women and babies. That can be quite serious.What Are the Symptoms of Toxoplasmosis?
Most people who’ve been infected with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis show no signs or symptoms.
People who develop symptoms may experience:
* a fever
* swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck
* a headache
* muscle aches and pains
* sore throat
These symptoms can last for a month or more and usually resolve on their own.
Toxoplasmosis is especially serious for people who have weakened immune systems. For these people, they’re at risk of developing:
* brain inflammation, causing headaches, seizures, confusion and coma.
* a lung infection, causing cough, fever, and shortness of breath
* an eye infection, causing blurry vision and eye painWhat Are the Causes of Toxoplasmosis?
T. gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. You can catch it from contaminated meat that’s raw or not thoroughly cooked. You can also get toxoplasmosis by drinking contaminated water. In rare cases, toxoplasmosis may be transmitted through a blood transfusion or a transplanted organ.
The parasite can also exist in feces. This means it can be found on some unwashed produce that has been contaminated with manure. Wash your produce thoroughly to prevent toxoplasmosis.
In the United States, the parasite is found in cat feces. Although T. gondii is found in nearly all warm-blooded animals, cats are the only known hosts. This means that the parasite’s eggs only reproduce sexually in cats. The eggs exit the feline’s body through excretion. Cats don’t usually show symptoms of toxoplasmosis even though they’re hosts.
People become infected with toxoplasmosis only if they ingest the parasite. This could happen when being exposed to contaminated cat feces. This is most likely when cleaning out a litter box without washing your hands afterward.
It’s very rare for humans to get toxoplasmosis from cats. Generally speaking, house cats that aren’t allowed outside don’t carry T. gondii. Wild cats or cats that live outside and hunt are more likely to be hosts of T. gondii.
In the United States, the most common way to get infected with the toxoplasmosis parasite is by eating raw meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables.How Is Toxoplasmosis Diagnosed?
Your doctor will typically perform a blood test to check for antibodies to this parasite. An antibody is a type of protein that your immune system produces when it’s threatened by harmful substances. Antibodies detect foreign substances by their surface markers, called antigens. Antigens include:
Once an antibody has developed against a particular antigen, it will remain in your bloodstream to protect against future infections with that particular foreign substance.
If you’ve ever been exposed to T. gondii, antibodies will be present in your blood. This means you will test positive for the antibodies. If your tests come back positive, then you’ve been infected with this disease at some point in your life. A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that you currently have an active infection.
If your tests come back positive for antibodies, your doctor might do further testing to help figure out exactly when you were infected.What Is the Outlook for People with Toxoplasmosis
The outlook for people with this condition depends on several factors. Pregnant women who develop this condition will need to work with their doctor to come up with a treatment plan that’s right for them. Babies born with toxoplasmosis may receive treatments for up to a year.
People with AIDS and children with compromised immune systems may need to be hospitalized for treatment to prevent complications.
If you aren’t pregnant and you don’t have any underlying health conditions you should recover in several weeks. Your doctor may not prescribe any treatments if your symptoms are mild and you’re otherwise healthy.How Is Toxoplasmosis Prevented?
You can prevent toxoplasmosis by:
* washing all fresh produce before you eat it
* making sure all meat is properly cooked
* washing all utensils that are used to handle raw meat
* washing your hands after cleaning or scooping cat litter
Pregnant women should have someone else clean the cat litter box during their pregnancy.