Their independence and hygiene make many people decide to adopt them. However, a scientific study placed the center of the scene danger of having cats as pets: most carry a parasite that can cause schizophrenia in humans.
Is about Toxoplasma gondii, that it spreads between people, especially when they make contact with the plastic tray which is used for the animal to relieve. But it is not the only way to get infected; It can also happen, for example, when eating raw meat.
This parasite usually does not hurt, but scientists at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have done research indicating that the risk of developing an image of schizophrenia increases by 50% for those infected.
Schizophrenia is a brain disease that presents a serious distortion in thought, perception and emotions. Patients may experience hallucinations, that is, they hear or see something that others do not feel. They may also manifest abnormal ideas – called illusions – that do not fit reality.
The analysis was performed on more than 80,000 people in the Danish Blood Donor Study, where they found more than 2500 cases of people with adverse psychiatric conditions. Experts detected the parasite in a quarter of the study population, of which 61% carried cytomegalovirus, which also causes cognitive deterioration.
In the study, it was found that people infected with Toxoplasma gondii They are almost 50% more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia than those who do not. This parasite can prevent the action of an amino acid in the body called tryptophan, which would cause large amounts of metabolites, such as kinurenic acid, a substance found in people with schizophrenia.
The parasite T. gondiiAs it is also known, it is more popular because of the infection called toxoplasmosis, which causes flu-like symptoms. Most of the time, the disease has a very low risk. However, in the case of pregnant women becomes more complicated because it can generate serious risks to the baby.
How to avoid contagion?
• If you have a cat, check that it is healthy, visit the veterinarian and carry out the corresponding deworming.
• Clean the cat litter box daily with gloves and wash hands afterwards. Cat feces are infectious only after 36 hours.
• If you do not have a cat at the time of gardening, be aware that there may be traces of fecal matter from other cats, so wear gloves.
• Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or sausages.
• Clean utensils and / or items that have been in contact with raw meat.
• Wash fruits and vegetables carefully.
• The parasite resists low temperatures, but not at high temperatures. Cooking food at high temperatures ensures its death.
• Always wash your hands before eating.
• It is important to undergo controls during the course of pregnancy, so that a possible infection can be identified immediately.