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Toxoplasmosis (cont.)

Prevention

Prevention of toxoplasmosis centers on avoiding ingestion of the parasites. The following is suggested by the CDC and other public-health officials to prevent or reduce the chance of getting toxoplasmosis:

  • Thoroughly cook all meat (freezing meat for several days may also reduce the chance of ingesting viable Toxoplasma).
  • Carefully wash hands and utensils after handling raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Do not drink unpasteurized milk or drink untreated water.
  • Feed cats only commercially prepared cat food or thoroughly cooked food.
  • Do not adopt or handle stray cats.
  • Do not obtain a new cat while pregnant.
  • Pregnant women should wear gloves while gardening, thoroughly wash their hands afterward, and avoid contacting any cat feces; they should have others change cat litter boxes (change litter boxes daily).
  • Keep outdoor sandboxes covered when not in use.

Toxoplasma-infected pregnant individuals can infect their fetus; treatment of the mother can reduce the chances of infecting the fetus. Organ and blood donors infected with Toxoplasma can transmit the parasite to recipients; testing donors for the parasite can prevent this rare type of infection. Studies are ongoing to produce a vaccine against Toxoplasma, but to date, none are available or commercially produced for humans or cats.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2014

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