Health Tip: Toxoplasmosis

Take care when cleaning cat's litter box

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(HealthDayNews) -- Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that can be transmitted in cat feces. It can lead to birth defects in an unborn child and can cause infection with cold-like symptoms in anyone who fails to use good hygiene after cleaning a cat's litter box.

According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, while the risk of transmission is low, you should still take certain preventive steps:

  • Minimize your cat's stalking behavior. Cats become infected by eating contaminated prey.
  • Have your child remember to always wash her hands after playing with the cat. Fecal matter could be transferred from the cat's fur.
  • Wear disposable rubber gloves when cleaning the litter box. If you're pregnant, have someone else do this chore.
  • Treat any cat bite or scratch immediately.
  • Try to prevent your cat from jumping onto eating surfaces.
  • Cover your child's sandbox to prevent your cat from defecating in it.
  • Wear gloves when gardening. The parasite can survive in moist, shaded soil or sand for months.

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