Have you heard of an infection called Toxoplasmosis? This infection is caused by the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite, which is a single celled parasite. Some reports indicate that more than 60 million people across the United States have this parasite, but all of them may not be infected. Mostly people who get infected have a weak immune system, like babies, pregnant women and people with immunity disorders.
Toxoplasma Gondii lives in the flesh of several animals, including pets like dogs and cats. Even mice, cattle and birds can get this parasite. In fact, it can affect animals that eat the infected animals.
If you are infected with the Toxoplasma parasite, you need to understand the source it is coming from and also how to get rid of it.
From where do I get Toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasma Gondii rarely is contracted directly from pets. However, some of the sources that you can get infected are through:
- When you consume meat that has been undercooked and is infected with the parasite. It is not possible to say if the meat is infected by just looking at it. However, if you consume undercooked meat or raw meat like sushi, for example, the chances of getting infected with this parasite are high. Pregnant women especially need to avoid undercooked meat or sushi because they can pass on the infection to the fetus.
- It can be passed on from utensils like cutting boards and knives which were used to sliver or cut the infected meat. It is strongly advised to wash the implements you use to cut with hot salt water before you put them away.
- If you have a pet cat that is infected with this parasite then you can get infected if you clean the cat litter without wearing gloves or washing your hands with soap and hot water after cleaning the litter. Cats pass out the parasite in their faeces.
Getting Rid of the Toxoplasma Gondii Parasite
The symptoms of Toxoplasmosis do not show before 3 weeks, as it is the incubation period for the parasite. However, in order to avoid getting infected with the parasite, you can follow these simple steps to kill the parasite:
- Prevention is better than cure, so it is best to avoid raw and undercooked meat.
- If you buy meat products that are uncooked, freeze them at -4 degrees F for 2 to 3 days. The parasite is unlikely to survive at this temperature.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap if you have handled meat directly. Wash all the utensils and cutleries that were used to handle raw meat with hot salt water. This will kill the parasite.
- If you are cleaning your cat’s faeces, or its tray, wash your hands thoroughly 2 or 3 times with antibacterial soap.
- Wash all raw vegetables and fruits well with salt water or white vinegar mixed with water, if you are consuming them raw.
- If you have been gardening or you have pets like cows and cats, make it a point to wash your hand with soap solution to kill the parasite.
- Do not drink raw goat’s milk or even cow’s milk. Always boil milk at 212 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the parasite.
- Avoid eating meat that is rare or undercooked in restaurants. This is especially true for beef.
Most healthy people, who have toxoplasmosis, do not need treatment as the infection is mild. You should be concerned when there are symptoms related to the eye. Do not ignore them. Instead, visit your doctor immediately. This parasitic infection is taken more seriously in babies, pregnant women and in people with weak immunity. In rare cases, Toxoplasma Gondii has caused some fatal results in such people. Such people should immediately contact a health specialist if they suspect an infection.