(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.