Ask Dr. Richards

October 2012 Issue

Ask Elizabeth: October 2012

Toxoplasmosis is caused by the protozoal parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which requires passage through a cat to produce infective oocysts that can subsequently infect other warm-blooded animals. Cats usually acquire toxoplasmosis by eating infected prey, and approximately 20 percent of cats will begin to shed toxoplasma oocysts in their feces after ingesting toxoplasma. Oocysts in cat feces take between 24 and 48 hours to become infective for other animals, so if you are able to remove the feces from your garden within 24 hours (wearing gloves and washing hands thoroughly afterward), you will significantly decrease the likelihood of having your vegetables be a source of toxoplasma infection.

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