Tags: cats | Toxoplasma gondii | CDC | Dr. Oz

Clean Daily for Litter Box Safety

By and Monday, 29 June 2015 12:06 PM Current | Bio | Archive

When a drum of nuclear waste exploded in New Mexico last year, a chemical reaction between organic kitty litter (used to help absorb spills of uranium, plutonium, and americium) and the drum's contents was to blame.

It seems kitty litter can cause serious health risks!

For some people, the immediate hazard is a parasite — Toxoplasma gondii — that lives in cats’ guts. It can infect humans if they touch feces or contaminated material such as kitty litter and accidently ingest it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 60 million people in the United States are infected, although most don't have obvious symptoms.

(People also can get the parasite from contaminated meats, water, and unwashed fruits and vegetables.)

People with weakened immune systems and pregnant women have long been warned to keep their distance from cat feces, as toxoplasmosis can cause stillbirth and miscarriage.

Now, two new studies indicate that T. gondii might be an even more serious public-health problem.

Researchers have found that people infected with T. gondii are twice as likely to develop schizophrenia (and perhaps other mental disorders) as those who aren't infected; chances go from 1 in 100 to 2 in 100.

Individuals who may have a genetic predisposition to develop such disorders are probably better off without a cat.

But for most cat lovers, there's good news: The parasite doesn't become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it has been shed in the animal's feces. So cleaning out the litter box (using gloves) daily should reduce the risks.

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For some people, the immediate hazard is a parasite — Toxoplasma gondii — that lives in cats’ guts.
cats, Toxoplasma gondii, CDC, Dr. Oz
Monday, 29 June 2015 12:06 PM
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