Toxoplasmosis risk: what the vets say

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03 September 2012
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The British Veterinary Association (BVA) describes recent headlines linking contact with cats to schizophrenia due to the risks posed by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii as 'alarmist'.The BVA is concerned that the headlines could cause significant alarm to cat owners. It says that most people who become infected are asymptomatic (no symptoms) but 10-20 per cent can show short-term flu-like symptoms. There is a more serious risk to pregnant women and those who are immunocompromised, but as with all infections common sense and good personal hygiene reduces the risk significantly and there is no reason that families with, or those intending to have, children shouldn't have pet cats.The BVA adds that while it is not known which the greater source of infection is, anecdotal evidence suggests that meat is likely to be more important than contact with cats. The BVA echoes advice that meat should be prepared and cooked properly.Good hygiene with cats includes: wash hands
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