Nowadays cat toxoplasmosis is being discussed a lot throughout the world. It is more dangerous than AIDS. It has not been talked in the media extensively as it doesn’t produce more damage to healthy human being. It affects the children, pregnant women and low immuned human beings.
Before reading about the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis, it is mandatory to know about the life cycle of the causative organism, which is nothing but Toxoplasma gondi. Cat is the definitive host and the intermediate hosts are man, mice, rat, etc.
The eggs of Toxoplasmosis find their way into rats that nibble on the feces of infected cats. After living inside the rodent, when it’s time to reproduce, the parasite has to get into a feline again. As all of us know rats are afraid of cats, then, how the infected rats are being killed by cats. The action of Toxo severs particular neurons in the rat’s brain making them fearless of cats. The rats will be attracted by the smell of the cat and walk before the cat. This change in host behavior is thought to be a remarkable example of a parasite manipulating a mammalian host for its own benefit (House et al., 2011). Cat kills the toxoplasma infected rat and the protozoan parasite reproduces merrily in the definitive host’s body.
Toxoplasma infects the human being by means of infested partially cooked meat. The infected man suffers from headache, fever, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, Malaise (a general sick feeling) and rashes. In pregnant women, the infection may lead to birth defects in the new borne. Toxoplasmosis infected unhealthy people may show varied symptoms such as Psychosis, seizures, and blurred vision.
In cats, toxoplasmosis causes fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. It may infect the eyes and cause pupil dilatation, retinal inflammation, etc. Some of cats may exhibit head pressing, ear twitching, loss of control over defecation as well as urination.
Diagnosis is by lab examination. Affected animals can be completely cure by the administration of Clindamycin. The drugs such as pyrimethamine and sulfadiazine will prevent reproduction of T.gondi.
House PK, Vyas A, Sapolsky R (2011) Predator Cat Odors Activate Sexual Arousal Pathways in Brains of Toxoplasma gondii Infected Rats. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23277. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023277
Pereira, L. H., Staudt, M., Tanner, C. E., & Embil, J. A. (1992). Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii and cat ownership in Nova Scotia. Pediatrics, 89(6), 1169-1172.