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- The ARC - California Edition -

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Congenital Toxoplasmosis can be Prevented

Toxoplasmosis is a very common infection which is caused by a tiny parasite known as the Toxoplasma gondii. In the United States, almost one-fourth of all teenagers and adults have laboratory evidence that they currently or previously have had the T. gondii infection. Most often, these infections are asymptomatic (without symptoms), or the person gets over the infection without receiving any treatment. In almost all of the cases, a person does not realize that they have even had the disease. 

Infrequently, the outcome can be fatal, but this form of Toxoplasmosis is rare. A very serious condition occurs whenever a pregnant woman contracts the disease. If a woman gets actively infected at any stage during her pregnancy, Toxoplasmosis may cause serious health problems for her fetus. 

This form of the disease is referred to as Congenital Toxoplasmosis and may result in a miscarriage, or in permanent damage to the unborn baby. The heavy components of this damage often include mental retardation, blindness, and epilepsy. 

The precise number of babies actually being born with damage from Congenital Toxoplasmosis is not clearly understood. Estimates by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have projected that the babies being born infected with Congenital Toxoplasmosis is ranging between 1 per 10,000 live births and 10 per 10,000 live births. 

The actual birth rate experienced within the state of California during recent years has been greater than 500,000 births per annum. These numbers would extend to indicate that within our state of California we are having between 50 and 500 babies being born each year that are infected with (and probably damaged by) Congenital Toxoplasmosis. Given the above information, what can we do to reduce and perhaps even stop this potential cause of brain damage? 

First step is to stay away from the sources, and second, take precautions whenever you can. It has been well established that the sources are and people catch Toxoplasmosis from:

Raw/undercooked meat.
Vegetables and fruit
Cat feces
Unpasteurised milk products

To prevent Toxoplasmosis from happening to you, follow the Toxoplasmosis Prevention Doís & Donítís.

Toxoplasmosis Prevention Do's and Don't's
DO WASH your hands often.
DO COOK your meat thoroughly Ė no traces of blood or pinkness. 
DO WASH all cooking utensils AND surfaces after preparing raw meat.
DO WASH fruits and vegetables.
DO WEAR GLOVES when gardening. 
DO WASH your hands after working with garden soil or with garden gloves.
DO NOT DRINK or handle unpasteurized milk products of goats or sheep. 
DO NOT HANDLE cat litter. 
DO COVER childrenís sandboxes to prevent cats from using them.
DO keep your hands out of your mouth, eyes and ears.


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