Cat Parasite Linked to Mental Illness

Cat Parasite Linked to Mental Illness

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite carried by cats that can be transmitted to humans. While it has no effect on most people, it can cause symptoms in people with weak immune systems. A number of recent studies have linked Toxoplasma gondii infection with mental illnesses, particularly schizophrenia.

Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself without having to give up your feline friend. Recommendations include: keep your cat indoors; always cover its litter box when not in use; change the cat’s litter daily (T. gondii does not become infectious until 1 to 5 days after it is shed in feces); avoid feeding cats raw or undercooked meat; wash your hands after gardening; and washing fruits and vegetables from the garden. Because toxoplasmosis is especially hazardous to unborn babies, health officials recommend that pregnant women avoid cleaning litter boxes, if possible.

Read the CBS news article here.