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Health Tip: Toxoplasmosis

Take care when cleaning cat's litter box

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(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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