Don't worry, your cat's butt parasites won't turn you into a psychopath

Due to research that has suggested a link between Toxoplasma infection and increases in psychological health problems in human hosts, there is a renewed push in media to vilify Toxoplasma gondii and the people this little critter inhabits. Unfortunately, with that comes the usual batch of alarmist headlines such as "Liberal Thinking Linked to Deadly Disease," and even the claim that side effects include psychosis(!).

We take a look at Toxoplasma and attempt to give you the facts sans the hysteria.

What is Toxoplasma and how does it infect humans?

The toxoplasma life cycle.

Toxoplasma gondii is a microscopic parasite whose primary host is the common house cat, though Toxoplasma is able to make a host out of mostly any warm-blooded mammal. Cats pick up the parasite through eating infected meat, such as by eating an infected rat or mouse.

Toxoplasma can only create eggs within the environment a cat host provides. To reproduce, the parasite exploits the cat’s biological processes and, as a result, for around 10-14 days the infected cat will shed millions of toxoplasma eggs or “oocysts” in its feces.

However, most human hosts will be infected through consuming undercooked meat, particularly rare lamb, or by coming into contact with water, soil or vegetables that have been contaminated by feline feces, or exposed to infected materials.

Toxoplasma infection: symptoms and possible psychosis?

Around a third of the world’s population may harbor the parasite and estimates suggest that in Britain alone, new infections may total as much as 350,000 a year. An indicator for Toxoplasma infection is the formation of cysts in the human brain and over other vital organs of the body.

Only a proportion of those infected will ever show what are known as clinical symptoms, and only a relatively small number of those people will ever be severely affected. That said, the problems infection has been linked to are of concern.

Acute symptoms may include flu-like episodes that, with medical intervention, gradually fade after a few days or months. There are cases in which toxoplasmosis has been fatal, but in the vast majority of such cases, this was when teamed with another underlying problem, such as HIV.

There is also a demonstrated risk to pregnant women. In particular, the parasite is able to cross the placenta and therein pose a risk to an unborn child, sometimes leading to miscarriage.

However, even in those people that do not display obvious clinical symptoms of infection, there is tentative evidence that infection may alter personality traits. Infected rats tend to be more prone to risk-taking, often with the fatal and highly useful consequence, at least for the parasite, of being eaten by cats.

T. gondii tachyzoite.

Studies have also shown a link between infection in humans and psychological problems leading to self-harm and suicide attempts, with a 2011 study of 20 European countries showing the national suicide rate among women increasing in direct proportion to the prevalence of latent infection. There has even been a link made to an increased likelihood of schizophrenia. These results remain tentative, however, and much more research is needed before a causal link can be established.

Abandoning pet cats is NOT the answer to Toxoplasma

If you are scared of the 'Tox, it is important to stress that indoor cats pose little risk of Toxoplasma infection as their chances for exposure to infected materials is greatly reduced.

While some scientists have gone as far as to warn against keeping outdoor cats during pregnancy and around young children, others have pointed out that cats actually only shed oocytes for around two to three weeks of their life, after which they are unlikely to become reinfected. This period will usually occur when the cats are young and have just started to exhibit hunting behaviors. If infection is diagnosed, keeping cats away from at-risk groups while the cat is being treated is recommended, and practicing good home cleanliness, such as washing your hands after clearing out a cat’s litter tray, can help combat infection.

However, the risk from undercooked meat and unwashed vegetables remains a concern, and one that seems to have gone under emphasized until now. While the UK’s FSA prepares to publish a risk profile on Toxoplasma, Dr Richard Holliman of St George’s Hospital in London is quoted by the Independent as saying: “Toxoplasma is more important, or as important as salmonella and campylobacter, which affect a lot of people.”

He then clarifies the threat in stark terms: “Toxoplasma affects a few people but when it does affect them it can be devastating. A child born with congenital toxoplasma is damaged for life.”

Conclusion

The risk of Toxoplasma gondii impacting your life is relatively low. It is, however, something that should be considered seriously, both in terms of potential benefits and risks. Ultimately, living with Toxoplasma is a choice. Read, learn, listen, and make up your own mind. As for me, a young healthy CIS white male aware of the impact my privilege can have on the disadvantaged if not kept in check, I will continue to live in symbiosis with my little critters.

Anonymous Toxo Educator

Balance Toxoplasma's benefits with the risks and make up your own mind. I have made an informed decision to live in symbiosis with mine. ------------- This author is a professional from a respected field and has requested anonymity, which we respect.

  1. 6 months ago
    Ex-fucking-scuse me

    Is this a parody? Because I laughed

  2. 6 months ago
    Wtf

    Just wtf

    • 6 months ago
      Joe schmo

      I was going to comment about the article but the privileged white male thing is more notable. You are a spineless self flagellating pussy and I hope you get enriched by a gr00ming gang you self hating cu*K

  3. 6 months ago
    Abdul Al-Hamza: King of the Pygmies

    Zyklon B works to potentiate the effects of toxoplasmosis. I suggest the author try it

    • 2 months ago
      A E

      Unfathomably based and irrefutably redpilled.

      It didn’t happen but they deserve it.

  4. 6 months ago
    Big Lez

    I raped Justin Trudeau's wife while she was a student at McGill. Pretty sure she liked it

  5. 6 months ago
    Enpe See

    I for one welcome our worm overlords.

  6. 6 months ago
    Xir

    This reminds me of the article about how researchers said that using magnents to shut off certain portions of your brain would make people more welcome to illegal immigration. So making yourself mentally ill if the key to being a leftist.

  7. 6 months ago
    Sven

    Toxoplasma makes you gay, insecure and can lead to increased risk of suicide. Ivermectin is the cure (known as Horse Dewormer in the NPC community) or any other anti parasite treatment.

    Take the worm pill, before the worm takes you.

  8. 6 months ago
    It's bad

    My father died from this shit, he got it from farm animals and changed completely, incoherent sentences, was constantly confused and banged his head on walls, complained about headaches 24/7, ended up killing himself in 5 months after catching it. Some of the worst episodes in my families life were in those five months, he would start screaming with my sister (4 years old) very loudly, would break things around the house and scare the shit out of customers to the point where we started locking him in the room during daytime so we could open our store, we tried a psychiatrist and 2 different doctors, to no avail, appearently his brain had been severely degraded by the parasite. People (especialy catladies) talk about toxo as if it was this tiny innocent thing that cant harm anyone, nothing could be further from the truth.

  9. 6 months ago
    Remove Degeneracy

    " As for me, a young healthy CIS white male aware of the impact my privilege can have on the disadvantaged if not kept in check, I will continue to live in symbiosis with my little critters."

    Are you a brainwashed NPC?

    • 6 months ago
      tevs

      he has literal brain worms, it's not his fault.

  10. 6 months ago
    Excellent

    Appreciate this. Over the last thirty-four years, we've had close to fifty cats. Two developed acute toxoplasmosis infections. One was unsteady and loopy for a few weeks, and stayed a little odd for the rest of his life. The second went blind, but after two weeks at Cornell, got her sight back in one eye. The two infections were five years apart. None of the other cats, the dogs, or humans in the house caught the infection.

    Only acute toxoplasmosis infections cause noticeable symptoms. About half the human race, most dogs and the vast majority of cats carry Toxoplasma gondii protozoans at any given time. Contact with a cat is a very rare way to contract acute toxoplasmosis, and contact with cat feces has a somewhat greater risk. But the large majority of human toxoplasmosis infections are from eating infected meat. So, pet the cat, wash your hands after you do the litter box and cook your meat thoroughly if you don't want it in your body.

  11. 6 months ago
    Meow!

    People turn me into a psychopath. Animals keep me sane.

    • 6 months ago
      Holly

      I worry that my kittes will become psycho because of ME! I have 8 rescued cats and none have become ill...

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