Toxoplasmosis is a serious infection in cases of pregnancy, however there are many popular beliefs around this disease that are not entirely true.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease that is contracted when you come in contact with the toxoplasma gondii parasite . When a person in normal conditions develops the infection it produces symptoms similar to those of a flu that are eliminated following a simple treatment. Although it is a disease that is on everyone’s lips when it comes to pregnancy, the truth is that it is an infection with a very low worldwide incidence, approximately 30%.
The contagion usually occurs through the ingestion of meat infected with this protozoan, by contact with cat feces that have toxoplasmosis or by transplacental route from the mother to the fetus. And it is that although the contagion cannot occur between person and person , things change when the patient is a pregnant woman. If the parasite crosses the placental barrier and reaches the fetus, it can develop congenital toxoplasmosis.
That is why pregnant women are advised not to take certain foods during the gestation period to avoid any risk of contagion, a risk that is greater during the first trimester of pregnancy and that decreases as the months progress. Toxoplasmosis is a must-have infection found during pregnancy, but some professionals comment that many pregnant women become overly alarmed when it comes to this infection. And it is that just by following a few simple guidelines, the risk of developing toxoplasmosis drops dramatically. For this reason, from PregDream Padres we want to dismantle some popular myths about this disease during pregnancy.
5 MYTHS AND 1 TRUTH
Myth 1: You have to get rid of a pet when it is a cat.
When the good news of a pregnancy reaches a family with a cat, alarms and doubts soon arise about what to do with the pet. And it is that many mothers consider that the cat can be a threat to their future baby, but this is not the case. Although it is true that one of the routes of infection is contact with cat feces, not all kittens are infected with the parasite.
That is why the most advisable thing is to go to a veterinarian to do an analysis to the cat to check if it has contracted the infection. If you test positive, you do not have to make the radical decision to get rid of it, you just have to be careful when handling your feces and wash your hands regularly. And it is that every year a considerable number of cats are abandoned due to the false belief that they are a danger to pregnancy.
Myth 2: Domestic cats can’t get the disease.
It is true that stray cats are more prone to toxoplasmosis, so you have to take great care if during the months of gestation you decide to adopt an abandoned cat or collected in a kennel.
This does not mean that you stop doing it , but it is most recommended that you submit the new pet to a test and that, if it is positive, you take the basic precautions that we pointed out previously, such as handling the cat’s feces with care and wash your hands afterwards. However, the infection can also be found in cats that have been raised at home. The only ones that would have less chance of contracting the toxoplasma gondii parasite would be those pets that have been fed exclusively with dehydrated or canned food, that have not had any type of contact with other felines and that lack the possibility of feeding on rodents or birds. that can be found in the house or in the garden.
Myth 3: A person can get toxoplasmosis when stroking the fur of an infected cat.
The only way for a cat with toxoplasmosis to transmit the disease to a human is through direct contact with its feces. Neither through hair nor saliva can the infection be transmitted, so there is no problem when touching a cat. The truth is that you are more likely to become infected with toxoplasmosis through raw meat or vegetables washed with contaminated water than from being in contact with a cat.
Myth 4: Dogs are immune to toxoplasmosis.
It is true that when it comes to talking about this disease it is usually related to cats, but dogs can also contract it and infect their owners. These can become infected through contact with cat feces containing toxoplasmosis gondii oocysts, through an infected surface, or by eating raw meat containing the parasite. But it is very important to know that the transmission of toxoplasmosis from a dog to a human is not possible . The intestinal cycle through which contagion between animals and humans is possible only occurs in cats.
Myth 5: When a woman contracts the disease, she will not be able to get pregnant in the future
This is a lesser known false myth than the previous ones, but it does exist. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that, except in the case of pregnant women, usually shows symptoms very similar to those of a cold or flu and that can be reversed without complications following a simple treatment. There are even people who have contracted the disease but never have symptoms. The only thing that experts advise is that if a woman has contracted the disease it is better that she wait approximately 6 months after the complete disappearance of the infection to try to become pregnant.
Truth: Be very careful with the foods you eat during pregnancy.
As you have seen, becoming infected with toxoplasmosis is quite complicated if basic hygiene rules are followed. However, it is true that during the gestation months you have to pay special attention to the food you eat. Specialists advise avoiding raw foods such as cold cuts , milk or eggs. They also point out that fruits and vegetables should be washed with plenty of water and that all foods should be perfectly cooked before consuming them. And is that the toxoplasmosis parasite dies when temperatures exceed 72 ° C. It is also important that food is frozen a few days before consumption.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.