WSU Extension

Food Safety

Bugs that make you sick - Toxoplasmosis

 

Cause : Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that infects essentially all cats that spend any time outdoors. The infective stage develops in the gut of the cat and the parasite is then shed in cat feces. Animals that have eaten food or water contaminated with cat feces may have the parasite in their meat. Soil contaminated with cat feces may also contain the parasite.

Examples of foods involved : Raw or partially cooked pork, lamb or venison. Fruits and vegetables that have come into contact with soil.

Transmission : Eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with the parasite. Touching your hands to your mouth after gardening, handling cats, cleaning a cat's litter box, or anything that has come into contact with cat feces.

Symptoms : Adults generally have mild or no symptoms, but persons especially vulnerable to infection may develop severe toxoplasmosis involving the heart, lungs or nervous system. A pregnant woman infected for the first time can pass the infection to her fetus with possible serious consequences.

Onset : 6-10 days.

Duration : The duration of the iIIness depends on the health and immune status of the person.

Prevention : Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat, especially ground pork. Freeze ground pork products for several days before cooking (freezing kills the Toxoplasma cysts). Wash hands before eating or preparing food. Wash or peel fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove all traces of soil. If you are pregnant or if you have a weakened immune system, you should discuss toxoplasmosis with your health care provider.

 

 

Bugs that make you sick:

Bacteria
Virus
Parasite
   

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