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Cat Parasite Poses Serious Risk to Humans, Says New Report

By Periscope @periscopepost
Cat link to dementia Cats: Driving us mad?

The background

Cats: fluffy, snuggly cuddlebunnies or parasite-harbouring disease-mongers? It’s the latter, according to a new report, which estimates 350,000 people a year in the UK become infected with toxoplasmosis, a disease spread by our feline friends.

What is toxoplasmosis?

Reassuringly, the BBC says that “in about 80% of cases, a person who is infected will not be aware and will have no symptoms”. However, the consequences for anyone with a weakened immune system can be dire, and in pregnant women it can result in birth defects such as blindness or brain damage. And according to The Daily Mail, the risks don’t stop there, with the disease also linked to dementia, schizophrenia and “other psychotic disturbances”.

Cats not the only culprit

“In addition to infections caused by direct contact with cats, people can pick up the parasite by eating the meat of infected animals or from raw vegetables that have not been washed properly to rid them of any toxoplasma eggs contaminating the soil,” pointed out Steve Connor in The Independent. For example, if you like your lamb cooked rate, you may want to look away now: “Sheep are thought to pick up the parasite by eating pasture grass or concentrated feed that is contaminated with cat faeces and preliminary studies indicate that nearly 70 per cent of British sheep have been exposed to the feline parasite.”

Is this all part of a feline masterplan to take over the world?

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