What are the causes of toxoplasmosis?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a single-cell parasite, toxoplasma gondii, which can only reproduce in the cells lining the intestines of cats. While most pets can carry this disease, only cats shed the eggs or oocysts that cause this infection. Cats get this infection from eating rodents or insects, or by being in contact with other infected cats or their faeces. Who is at risk? Toxoplasmosis is transmitted to humans when they do not wash their hands after coming into contact with cat faeces, while gardening or cleaning out cat litter trays, or when children play in sandboxes. It can also be spread by eating unwashed fruit and vegetables, grown in soil contaminated by cat faeces. Eating raw or undercooked meat also exposes people to the dormant form of the parasite. It is most dangerous to a pregnant woman, who can transfer this infection to her fetus through the placenta. This could cause a miscarriage, or may cause the baby to be stillborn or born with congenital toxoplasmos