Birth defects...Parasite from Cats

Birth defects...Parasite from Cats





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Birth defects...Parasite from Cats
Posted in 2013

The domestic cat and the rise of agriculture have spread a parasite that causes devastating birth defects in humans, according to a study published yesterday.
More than a quarter of the world's population is now infected with toxoplasma gondii, a relative of the malaria bug.
Infected people with weakened immunity often develop acute toxoplasmosis, which can lead to birth defects, brain inflammation and vision problems.
It has also been suggested that the parasite, which invades the brain, may influence behaviour and trigger schizophrenia.
An Anglo-American team reported yesterday in the journal Science how the organism came to infest almost all animals.
Although it can sexually reproduce only in cats, the creature mutated so it could asexually reproduce in a vast range of warm-blooded hosts, including humans.
Dr David Sibley and colleagues at Washington University, St Louis, Cambridge University and the University of Georgia claim that the three main strains of the toxoplasma arise from a single mating about 10,000 years ago.
This allowed these parasites to abstain from sex and made being eaten an attractive option, so they could easily invade any warm-blooded creature.
The timing of the rise of this asexual form is significant, said Dr Jim Ajioka, of Cambridge University. As the more infectious bug emerged, agriculture developed and animals such as cats were domesticated.
Until recently, scientists had thought that the parasite was usually harmless, a cause for concern only to pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, such as Aids and transplant patients.
It has published in The Telegraph, on 18th January 2013
My advise
1...  While you are pregnant you should take care of your health and keep your self away from pet animals like cats, dogs etc...
2...  Protect your self from infections etc...
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