July 7, 2010

Toxoplasmosis: Prevention and Treatment

Filed under: Toxoplasmosis — Dr. Amber Reed @ 7:51 pm

feline ear mites While most people and animals that have contracted toxoplasmosis are likely not to suffer any serious symptoms, some animals and people with compromised immune systems can become quite ill.  For this reason, many doctors warn pregnant women about the risks of owning a cat to ensure babies do not become ill with the disease.  We’ll spend a bit of time talking about the treatment of toxoplasmosis but first, prevention.

The best way to treat toxoplasmosis is to be careful not to get infected.  You can reduce your risk of getting toxoplasmosis from contaminated foods by taking extra care when preparing and eating foods.  First of all, always cook foods to the recommended safe temperatures and use a food thermometer to check.  toxoplasmosis treatmentBeef, lamb, and veal should be cooked to a minimum of 145°F; pork, ground meat, and wild game should be cooked to 160°F; and poultry should be cooked to 180°F.  You can even freeze meats for a few days before cooking to further reduce the possibility of toxoplasmosis.  With fruits and vegetables, always wash them and peel them before eating.  Finally, ensure that you thoroughly wash cutting boards, dishes, counters, utensils, and your hands after handling raw foods.

Next you’ll want to avoid toxoplasmosis in the environment.  You must carefully handle your cat’s litter box and even wear gloves; and never clean a litter box if you are pregnant or your immune system is compromised.  In fact, it is recommended you wear gloves when gardening as well because cats often defecate in flower beds.  Cover outdoor sandboxes so cats cannot defecate where children play.

Let me mention one more time that most people can fight toxoplasmosis without treatment.  Still, if your doctor decides treatment is necessary, he or she will prescribe medication that controls the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.  For some individuals, you may need to continue drug therapy while you are immune-compromised.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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